Actions

Work Header

The Golden Age

Chapter Text

                                                                              Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens in a large theater. The theater itself is moderately well-kept, though the odd sticky seat or tossed popcorn container remains. There are about 50 or so people watching the film at hand; the men are all dressed in fine suits, and many wear ties and fedoras, with slicked back hair. The women wear anything from long dresses to mini-skirts, and their hair is either long and styled, moderate and somewhat puffy, moderate and, again, styled, or short and sleek. Makeup among the women is also common, though not a necessity. On average, there are a tad more women in the theater then men; an average that will increase in the oncoming months.

Sitting right up close to the screen is a woman and a man; the woman, dressed in a brown mini-skirt and with moderate, styled hair, is laid back in her chair with two closed fingers pressed against a cheek; she seems rather bored. Her male partner, on the contrary, seems the opposite. He's dressed in a red suit, and a matching fedora&tie, and his eyes are practically boring into the movie screen; he is utterly entranced with whatever he is seeing.]

 

Reporter On Movie Screen: No, I don't think so; no. Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted and then lost it. Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn't get, or something he lost. Anyway, it wouldn't have explained anything... I don't think any word can explain a man's life. No, I guess Rosebud is just a... piece in a jigsaw puzzle... a missing piece.

 

Mr.Kane: Roooosseebuuuuuuuddd...

 

[The credits roll, and while everyone is leaving and either talking about how they are confused at the film, how they hated the film, or – a select few – how the film was an under-appreciated breakthrough for cinema, the man in red is simply blown away in his chair speechless as the woman beside him gives him a sideway glance.]

 

Woman in Brown: That good?

 

[The man in red is still stuck in his seat for a moment, before the voice of the woman beside him finally fully registers. His head strangely jilts foward; almost as if he were still starting at the screen one moment, and then instantly looking at the woman the next.]

 

Man in Red: You kidding?! I finally get to slow down enough to see this flick – the one everyone's either calling the film of the century, or the flop of the millenia – and now, I see that the first crowd's absolutely right! It... it was... hell, even if everyone else calls this movie a turd, you can bet that I'll be the first to correct 'em!

 

Woman in Brown: Eh.

 

Man in Red: [Feigns shock and dismay.] 'Eh?'

 

Woman in Brown: Eh.

 

Man in Red: [Being playful] Oh, come on, Joan; we finally get to see a movie together, and this is what I get? 'Eh?'

 

Joan: Oh, Jay, that's just honestly what I thought! I mean, it's... different, I'll give you that. Still, maybe if it had Clark Gable in it...

 

Man in Red [Feigns anger] Oh? And what has Mr.Gable got that Mr.Wells ain't got? Or that I ain't got, for that matter?

 

Joan: [Giggles] Oh, Jay! You can be such a child sometimes!

 

Jay: Hey, I resemble that remark!

 

Joan: I know you do.

 

[Both laugh for a moment. However, their faces soon slowly turn to expressions of insecurity, anxiousness, and even a tinge of fear.]

 

Joan: ...You know... it was really nice to be able to do this... before--

 

Jay: [Reassuringly] I know, honey, I know. But... ever since last December... ever since that day – hell, even before then--

 

Joan: I know. The whole country's been in a scare. Even before that attack... before Pearl Harbor--

 

Jay: Look, baby, let's not try to talk about this now, okay?

 

Joan: Jay. We need to talk about this at some point, and we might as well talk about it now.

 

Jay: [Scratching his head in a look of annoyance.] ...Fine, fine. Jeez. But let's do this somewhere a bit less... conspicuous, m'kay?

 

[A mere second and an incomprehensible blur later, and the pair are at what appears to be a college dorm. It's fairly neat and orderly, aside from a few scattered papers and other objects about. Almost as if the resident  wants to be as neat as possible, but doesn't always have the time for that to be so.

 

Joan: ...Remind me again how I'm not dizzy and puking my guts up after that?

 

Jay: [Tips up his hat.] Don't really know. Far as I can tell, there's some sort of force that helps protect both me and others while I'm doing this, but I still don't really know it works.

 

Joan: [Visibly annoyed.] Gotcha. Okay, so; we were saying?

 

Jay: [REALLY doesn't want to talk about this, but is starting to do so anyway.] Okay, look. Yes, due to my... 'talents', I'm likely going to be called in some time soon--

 

Joan: But Jay--!

 

Jay: Hey, even if I was some average joe, I'd just get drafted! I'm only 25; prime age for it, I'm sure.

 

Joan: ...Yes, I suppose...

 

Jay: They know about me, you know. Not about who I really am, no, but about me. It's gotten all over the country, maybe even the whole world by now; that there's some nut in a pair of jeans, a metallic bowler hat, and a red sweater with a giant lighting bolt strapped to the front cruising around the Twin Cities and knocking down any Tom, Dick&Harry that's up to no good. Bank robberies, muggings, etc.al. But...

 

Joan: But what?

 

Jay: [Confused]: But I don't even know if that's really good enough anymore. My father served in WWI, you know. Went up against Kaiser Wilhelm and the holy hell of Germany and everyone else way back then. He taught me something about protecting what's yours. About protecting... [He stares at Joan momentarily; she briefly appears puzzled.]] About protecting what you care for. And after the harbor got blasted to smithereens, well... I don't really know if staying here, staying put in the good ol' Twin Cities – if that's going to be enough anymore. Even if I had a choice in the matter, I think... I think I'd just go and sign myself up.

 

Joan: [Arms crossed:] Would you, now?

 

Jay: Look, I know it means leaving you here alone, but you won't really be alone; with me and my speed, why, I can probably visit you every other weekend! [His smile now is so wide it's practically beaming.]

 

Joan: ...I guess. ...But, what if you meet someone--

 

Jay: Someone else? Please! There's only one gal out there for me, gorgeous, and I'm lookin' right at'er!

 

Joan: Now that's what I'm talking about! [Her expression then gets more serious once again.] ...Guess you really don't have a choice. ...Do you know what they're going to do with you?

 

Jay: [His expression gets more serious as well, but still with a slight grin upon his face.] Far as I can tell, the rumors are true; there's other people out me like there – people with their own gifts, their own talents, helping out and doing what they can. Some aren't quite as... 'talented' as myself, but hey; we all gotta' do our part! [Jay lets out a big toothy grin.]

 

Joan: [Arms crossed.] Jay.

 

Jay: Hey, alright, alright! ...Anyway, there's other people like me out there, and the government's been rounding them all up and trying to get their support. There's a few nuts, like the Laughing Mask or the Witness--

 

Joan: You mean the mask-wearing gun-holding psycho and the nut who only takes down crooks after the perp is killed? I know about them, definitely; they're on the NYPD's most wanted.

 

Jay: Yeah, them, I'm not working with. But there are other guys out there who really just want to make a difference for one reason or another, and have the power and skills to do so, if not both. Some are just... a bit more aggressive about it then others.

 

Joan. I'm sure. ...Look, I know-- I know this is something you gotta do. Just... just visit me when you can. Please?

Jay: Doll- [He instantly wraps his hands around her; she lets out a 'Oh!' in surprise and delight.] -you bet I will. In a Flash.

 

Joan: [Lowers her eyes seductively.] But.. you don't know exactly  who you'll be working with, correct?

 

Jay: [His eyes start to lower as well.] They're still working on that. Far as I can tell, they're going to break us up into different units, if we agree to join. If we don't, they'd probably just draft us anyway. But I think I'm gonna' be in the big one.

 

Joan: Well... how about a real big one before you take off, Mr.Flash?

 

Jay: [A tad befuddled.] I... don't really foll-

 

Joan: [Gives Jay a quick peck on the lips, before smiling coyly.]

 

Jay: [Now getting the hint] Oh, now I follow!

 

[Cue the two kissing each other deeply and intimately, as the scene fades to black...

 

Scene 2

 

Man in Gaudy Costume: Colonel, sir, with all due respect... you can't be serious.

 

[Our scene opens in a long room in the Pentagon; two men are seated at a very long table, with chairs neatly sitting all across it's length. Sitting in the middle across from each other are two men. One is an old, tough, craggy officer, clad in a green off-field army suit. His hair is white and somewhat short, yet combed impeccably. He also has a long mustache which he continues to twirl almost indefinitely, and in great annoyance as he casts a long glare at the man across from him. The other man is much younger by comparison, in his late 20's or so, and is dressed in an outfit that one could swear was made in the dark; green tights, red boots, an equally red and much more baggy shirt decorated with a large yellow circle with a green lantern in the center, a long purple cape with a high collar, and a small black mask across the eyes, and a small green ring upon the middle finger of his right hand. His short blond hair does not exactly compliment his already garish attire. He's holding in his left hand what appears to be some sort of document, and with his other, he's pressing quite hard across his temple with just a touch of anger.]

 

Colonel: I'm always serious. ...Except when I'm not, of course.

 

Man in Gaudy Costume: And which is it this time, I wonder?

 

Colonel: [Just a hint of a grin appears upon his face.] Mr... Scott, was it? Let me be perfectly clear. You are not here because I ordered it. If I had ordered it, I'd be, quite frankly, sauced to the gills, and almost certifiably insane. No; your being here is due to someone with a higher authority then mine, of that, you can be damn well certain.

 

Mr.Scott: Alan Scott. And I appreciate your... enthusiasm sir, but to be honest, I'd say I have as much right now as you do.

 

Colonel: And what makes you say that, son?

 

Alan: Well, it's just that I've really only been at this for... I don't know, a year? Maybe two?

 

Colonel: That's mighty assuring.

 

Alan: [Ignores Colonel's remark.] And I'm still working this out. This... 'lantern', where it really came from, what it can do – what I can do.

 

Colonel: Everyone's still tryin' to figure that out son, 'specially in these Godforsaken days. But, despite my... misgivings, you were still brought here for a purpose, and it's my job, much as I hate to say it, to see that you do it, and to help you anyway I can.

 

Alan: That's reassuring. Still, Sir, I'm not even sure what it is I'm supposed to do.

 

???: And that's where I come in.

 

[Strolling in o the room is a tall ,broad-armed man dressed in blue spandex from his head to his ankles. He's wearing a matching pair of red boots&red gloves, and there's a giant white star practically slapped onto his chest, with a series of red&white stripes circling around his stomach like a jail-cell, reaching down to just above the waist. A white 'A' can be seen on his forehead, with a little wing on each side of his noggin. His arms in between his hands&shoulders are white. The only parts of his body that aren't covered in spandex are his eyes, mouth, and jaw, and in his right hand, he's carrying a large, round shield; a giant white star can be seen in the middle, laying upon a blue circle; a red circular line, a white line of the same, and another red line can be seen circling around the blue circle&white star.

The man, bearing a calm&relaxed smile and warm, welcoming eyes, takes a seat at the table next to the Colonel, and rests his shield beside himself.]

 

Alan: ...Captain America, I take it?

 

Cap: [Still smiling.] So you've heard of me.

 

Alan: Who hasn't?  You've been practically all over the news; heck, all you have to do is walk into some convenience store, and whole rows of Captain America comics can be seen piling on the racks.

 

Cap: [Scratching the back of his head] I... guess I'm pretty popular these days.

 

Alan: Yeah, no kidding.

 

Cap: Hey, you're not too shabby yourself. Didn't you catch a plane straight out of the sky after it's engines burned out? Now that's news-worthy stuff, let me tell ya!

 

Alan: [Now scratching the back of his own head] Well, I don't like to brag, but...

 

Colonel: A-hem! May I remind you 'gentlemen' that the reason the both of you are allowed to so much as step foot inside this establishment, and converse among myself and yourselves dressed up like you're at a Halloween party is because we're here to discuss something that the higher-ups feel is rather important. So important in fact, that they'd let you two in here. You,-- [He swivels his neck straight towards Alan] because you're both the most well-known hero outside of blue-boy on the left, and, from what I understand, you pack quite a wallop, despite still 'working this out', according to you. And you,-- [His neck swivels again, now turning towards Cap] you are well on your way to becoming an American institution. So you two have the privilege of being able to give your input on just how all this is going to work.

 

Alan: How what is going to work, Colonel?

 

Colonel: [Reaches under the table, pulls out what appears to be some sort of document and slaps it onto the table's surface.] 'What' would be this.

 

Alan: ...And what exactly is 'this', sir?

 

Cap: That, Mr.Green Lantern sir, if it's what I think it is, is probably the first step of something that will hopefully do some real good in this war.

 

Alan: So that's it. Sir, with all due respect, I'm just as much ready and willing to serve my country as anyone, but in this case, why didn't you just send me a draft notice?

 

Colonel: Oh, you're getting drafted alright, young man; just not quite in the way you'd expect. Frankly, there's been a lot of folks like you – 'Mystery Men', as you tend to be called – popping up around this country, and in even a few places besides. And, with things getting as dire in this war as they seem to be, you've all become quite the commodity; a very valuable resource, or so I'm told. To that end, you, you, and all the rest of you, are going to be divided into... into Squadrons, you could say, to help tackle this war in the best ways you can. We've already got a small Sqaudron set up here on the homefront; the Liberty Legion, they call it. But the bulk of our forces is gonna' be sent straight into the front, and you boys – you boys are gonna' be the head-honcho's, at least to start, of the first, the biggest, and, hopefully, the all-star best of our overseas Squadrons.

 

Alan: [Two fingers are put to his cheek out of sheer skepticism.] And what would that be, Sir?

 

Colonel: Now, keep in mind, this is gonna' sound corny as all hell, but our good ol' USA is in such a fervor lately, the masses are gonna' eat this up like if Abraham Lincoln himself rose out of the grave.

 

Cap: And would would that be, Sir?

 

Colonel: To put it simply, good Captain; The Invaders For Justice.

Chapter Text

                                                                             Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens in the dead of the night in a large, urbane city that, if not a piece of worn down dreck, is at least beginning to fall apart at the seams, which can even be seen in the old decrypt buildings down a long city street. Near the end of one such street, in an old, rotting bar, a group of men, all dressed in zoot suits and fedoras, are sitting at a round table, drinking booze and playing cards, probably poker. Some don’t seem to show much interest in the game, with a cigar or two in their mouths, while others have the most inscrutable poker faces ever seen, and seem perfectly willing to sell out their own mothers if it meant winning it big. Meanwhile, there don't seem to be any other denizens in the bar except for the old bartender behind the counter, cleaning glasses and doing his best to mind his own business, despite the drops of sweat upon his worried brow. One of the men playing poker has a completely unfaltering grimace as he holds his cards in front of him, and yet his eyes are hidden by a pair of sunglasses, with just the slightest green tinge to the lens. The mobsters seem to be in the middle of a conversation.]

 

Mobster 1: Yeah, sure, it's what I heard! The dropoff's gonna' happen tomorrow night!

 

Mobster 2: Hey pal, you'd better be sure. Last time someone got us a dropoff date, we all nearly wound up in the clink! If it weren't for the boss--!

 

Mobster 1: Hey, not so loud! [He casts a quick glance at the bartender.] Wouldn't want someone ta'... hear something they weren't supposed to, huh? [Grins.] Could get messy.

 

Mobster 2: Hey, man, hey, you know I know better then that. ...Still though, you're right; if we're gonna' do this, we'd better make sure we ain't bein' overheard. Shouldn't we wait on talkin' bout this till after we're done fer the night?

 

Mobster 3: Man's got a point. Sides, we still got over 24 hours till this dropoff you're talkin' 'bout. Come on; we still got a game to finish, don't we?

 

Mobster 1: ...Heh. Yeah; yeah we do, at tha--

 

Mobster 4 [The mobster with the inscrutable expression and the sunglasses]: Hey!

 

Mobster 1: Not so loud, not so loud!

 

Mobster 4: Sorry, sorry. It's just... well I thought we were gonna' talk about the dropoff, ya' know? I just like to be focusin' on the big picture; stuff that matters; stuff that nets you your next big break, if ya' know what I mean...

 

Mobster 1: [Chuckles slightly.' Yeah; yeah, I guess I do, at that. We can always do that later though, when we ain't got so much... company. [He briefly casts a glance towards the bartender before turning back to Mobster 4.] For now, let's have some good drinks, some good cigs, some good--

 

Mobster 4:But... but sir--

 

Mobster 1:[Reaches for his gun.] Not now, 'kay pal? ...Hey, now that I get a closer look at you... have we met?

 

Mobster 4: Whatcha' talking 'bout, buddy? We just met a good week ago, at the latest meeting--

 

Mobster 1: Maybe. But I always remember a face. Couldn't tell before, with you hidin' your face behind those damned cards of her, but now, I know; I ain't ever seen you before in my life.

 

Mobster 4: ...I'm a new member of the gang. The boss said to--

 

Mobster 1: Avoidin' the subject, eh? [Points gun at mobster 4.] Really sorry to do this to ya' pal; you seemed like a nice enough guy. But --

 

[The mobser in the green shades suddenly pinches&breaks a small black capsule in his hand, presumably one he got from under his coat while he kept the first mobster talking.

 

Mobster 1: The hell? [The other mobsters are staring in disbelief, as what looks like a large, billowing dark cloud storms out of the capsule, and engulfs the rest of the bar. They first start to shout and yell in sheer fear and confusion for a time, before Mobster 1 gets what he thinks is a bright idea. He feels around his chest for cigarets in a chest pocket, searches in his pocket for a lighter, pulls it out best he can, then proceeds to light the cigarette, hoping to see whatever may stand before him.

Appearing right in front of the mobster's face is that of another; a hard, cold scowl and a thick, hard jaw, the rest of his head being covered by a tight black headcover with a small crescent moon in the center of his his forehead, and a pair of goggles with a green tint that look suspiciously like those of the mobster with the sunglasses.]

 

Mobster 1: YAAAAAH! [He looks down and whips out a pistol from his left pocket, but by the time he looks back up, the face is gone in an instant. He then starts to hear an ongoing series of whack&thocks, yells&screams, gunfire&missed shots, moans&groans. He then starts to break down in a nervous sweat, his fingers trembling as he grips down hard on the trigger, his trembling ever growing in intensity as the ominous struggle continues to go on – and then, just as fast as it began, it stops. And not long after, the cloud starts to disperse; leaving the terrified mobster seemingly alone in the room...

 

He is anything but alone.

 

He beings to slowly look around, holding up his pistol as he does so. He continues to slowly turn, making as damn sure as he possibly can that no-one and no-one is in here with him, aside from the barkeep, now huddled in the back of the bar. The mobster wonders if that isn't what he should be doing. And just when it seems like the coast is clear--]

 

Mobster 1: YAAAAAAAAAAAH! [He hears a foostep from behind – almost as if it were intentional, but at this point, he can't really notice – and whirls around to face his assailant, only to find his gun knocked out of his hand by another, more forceful one, and he is now once again confronted with that scowling face in the black headcover. Only now, it is clear that this head belongs to a strange red vest with crescent-moon shaped buttons down the center-line, black spandex covering the whole body head to toe underneath the vest, brown leather boots and gloves on his feet and hands, a dark-green, billowing cape, and a black belt with a gold buckle around his waist. And sure enough, all of the other mobsters are now strewn about on the floor, battered and bruised, but not a single one dead. The man then grabs the mobster, now both terrified and confused, by the collar, and if the vigilante's eyes could be seen, you would have sworn he was looking straight into this man's soul.]

 

Man in Black: Now then. Way I heard it, there's a dropoff for a new shipment of arms going on tomorrow night. Only problem is, I don't really know for certain where or when the dropoff's going to be. Therefore, I highly suggest you drop any thoughts you may possibly have about saying to me 'Who are you,' or 'What do you want?”. I've already told you what I want, though I suppose I'll tell you who I am to humor you. The name is Dr.Midnight, my operating table is Chicago, and right now, my patient is you. [He then uses his freehand to dig into a small pocket in his vest, and pulls out a scalpel.] Care to have me operate?

 

Mobster 1: Ah, aaaaaaaahh! God, please! The dropoff's gonna' happen in the old warehouse, across the street from Old Jim's hardware store!

 

Dr.Midnight: And when will that be?

 

Mobster: Hey, you already heard, didn't you? Yeah, I got it now; you were the guy in the sunglasses, weren't ya?!

 

Dr.Midnight: I know the time of day, sure. But I don't know the time. [Twirls his scalpel around his hand, his hard, cold expression ever unchanging.] Answer the question, if you please.

 

Mobster: Okay, okay! 12:00 midnight, sharp! Now please, let me go, huh? That's all I know, no joke!

 

Dr.Midnight: Somehow, I doubt it... but in a sense, you're right; you don't really know anything else that could be of use to me just now.

 

Mobster: [Sounding hopeful.] ...Soooooo... you gonna' let me go?

 

Dr.Midnight: Oh, I'll let you go, alright... [Puts away the scalpel, and decks the mobster out cold. He takes a moment to survey the scene; all mobsters are still out unconcious, but there is hardly any collateral damage or debris. There is only one cracked round table, where a mobster lies next to, and it's cracked near perfectly in half, like a cold, calculating surgeon at work. He then slowly turns his head to the bartender, who was slowly watching the scene all the while, his eyes peeping out from just above his counter. He slowly walks over to the bartender, who starts to duck behind the counter once more.]

 

Dr.Midnight: I assume that those apes come over here every other night and treat your place like it's theirs', don't they?

 

[The bartender doesn't say a word.]

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Take a look at the bar. For the most part, I left it pretty intact, though there's a table over there in the corner that, I'm sorry to say, isn't exactly in fine shape. But try to sort this out in your head for a moment. There are a bunch of unconscious palooka's scattered across the floor, and there's a table cracked in half. Any sane person, without prior explanation, would assume that it's all the result of one beer too many, and one too many a word said. And I doubt anyone would think a frail old man such as yourself could be capable of all this. You have an opportunity here, sir, to give yourself a bit of peace. At least for a few nights. Whether you follow through on this opportunity is up to you.

 

[Dr.Midnight then rushes out the door, and off into the night. As he does, the bartender slowly rises from under his counter. He slowly grabs the nearest phone, and begins to dial the police...]

Chapter Text

                                                                         Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens as Captain America, Green Lantern, and the Colonel walk down a long, dimly lit corridor, with an even longer set of stairs lying behind them.]

 

GL: Uh, Sir, Colonel; with all due respect, I thought the reason you called us here was to allow us to give our imput on –

 

Colonel: It is.

 

GL: Then why are we walking down this corridor that will lead us to... God knows where?

 

Cap: To be honest, Sir, much as I tend to respect greater authority, I was wondering that myself...

 

Colonel: Call me Colonel Ross, boys. As for your concerns, they're perfectly validated, I'll give you that.

 

GL: Speaking of concerns, now that I think of it... I never told you my name, did I?

 

Ross: Come again?

 

GL: Well, I suppose I just wasn't thinking too much about it at the time, but... I never told you my name. And yet, you called me 'Mr.Scott.' You're the one who said it to me first; I never said it before.

 

Cap: ...Colonel Ross. I'm just as good as military property, so it's no joke that you know who I am. But if there's something funny going on--

 

Ross: [Stops dead in his tracks, and motions his arm towards a metallic door in front of them.] Boys... we've arrived.

 

Cap: Sir--

 

Ross: I'll pretend you weren't about to backtalk to a superior officer, Mr.Rogers, and I'll even humor you; you two – yes, you too, Mr.Scott – if you you both just step inside, all your questions will be answered. I've got full approval, and –

 

GL: Colonel – What's in there?

 

Ross: You'll find out, won't you? [Ross squints his eyes hard.] Now, I figure this is the best way to solve just 'bout everything in one master-stroke, and I also figure that it's best to have men who don't have countless questions runnin' around in their heads, and thus question their superior officers, includin' me. Now, for not the first time – and I don't like repeating myself – get in there. That's an order.

 

HL: [Glares at Ross.] ...I don't like this; no, not one bit. But... fine. You want me to go in? I'll go in. I'll even humor you.

 

Cap: Now, Alan, I'm not too keen on this myself, but--

 

HL: Swivels his head, and in turn, his glare, right over to Cap.] Rogers. Just... just don't.

 

Cap: Okay, okay. [Starts to open the door, which seems to already be unlocked in preparation.] Let's just open this up, see what's inside, and – HOLY HANNA!

 

[Cap has just opened the door to what appears to be a dimly lit room, with nothing much in it but a shelf on the left side with various jars and beakers full of strange fluids. ...Except for a jar on a table in the dead center of the room; a large jar filled with a sort of strange pink fluid. The jar itself is also no ordinary jar; rather, it is outfitted with various metallic&technological devices and wires, and a radio receiver of some sort on the front. And within that pink fluid is the strangest sight of all; a large, healthy brain. And then, with no forewarning of any sort, a loud, booming voice can suddenly be heard from the receiver... ]

 

Brain: [Speaking via transceiver] Ah! You are all here! At last, at last! This is good, good! Oh, happy days! BWAHAHAHAHAHA...!

 

GL: ...Colonel.

 

Colonel: Yes, Mr.Scott?

 

GL You didn't happen to spice our drinks earlier, did you?

 

Colonel: No, Mr.Scott.

 

GL: Well, that's one option off the table. [Both he and Cap stare at the jar for what seems like an eternity. Then at themselves. Then at the jar. Then at themselves. Then at the jar--]

 

Brain: Oh, come on, boys! None of us are getting any younger, you know! Let's hop right to it, hm?

 

GL: [Stays silent for a moment more before turning back around to face the Colonel, in furious righteous anger.] JUST WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!

 

Ross: [Completely deadpan.] It's a brain in a jar.

 

GL: I KNOW IT'S BRAIN IN A JAR! IT'S A GODDAMNED TALKING BRAIN IN A JAR! WHY IS IT A TALKING BRAIN IN A JAR?! THAT'S WHAT I NEED TO KNOW!

 

Cap: Hey, easy now, soldier...

 

GL: [Stands still for a moment, before taking several deep breaths, and doing his best to calm himself.] ...Sorry 'bout that.' But I think my point still stands: what the hell is that thing?

 

Ross: It's a talking brain in a jar.

 

Cap: We know that. But what we want to know, is why.

 

Brain: I can help the both of you with that! Yes indeedy!

 

GL: [Slowly drapes his right palm over his face.] You know what? Heck with it. If a little green meteorite can talk to me like I'm having a bad hallucination and make me believe it, then I guess I can believe in a talking brain in a jar. Spill it.

 

Brain: Indubitably! My real name – my original name -- was Charles Carmody, a professor who, while not exactly a raving success in the papers, still had some notoriety in certain circles. I possesed skills in various different subjects, such as telepathy--

 

GL: Telepathy?

 

Brain: ...Yes, but--

 

GL: And that's how you know who I am? What else do you know?

 

Cap: Alan, hey; let's just wait until the Brain finishes his story before we go beating up on disembodied brains, okay?

 

GL: I never said--! You know what? Okay, okay. Let's hear the rest.

 

Brain: Indeed. As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted, I had been working on such subjects as telepathy, though as things stood, the only way I could get it to work was on a full, disembodied brain! It was fortunate then at what happened to me next, as well that I was working on another subject; mechanical organs. Heart failure? Kidney trouble? All that would be a thing of the past, once my research was completed, or so I believed. Of course, working in that particular field also gave me some knowledge in mechanics and engineering; knowledge which I was able to pass on to others right before... right before I met my end.

 

Cap: So, you had a body once?

 

Brain: Are you daft? Of course I had a body! But, well... you see, as I had said, my research was known in some circles, and, well.... some rather unruly ruffians got wind of my most notable and advanced work, and--

 

GL: And they tried to steal it and sell it to the highest bidder.

 

Brain: Yes; yes, that is true, I'm afraid. And... they also kidnapped my daughter.

 

Cap: [Eyes open wide with a large, long whistle.]

 

Brain: Fortunately, I had an assistant working with me at the time, Jim Cliburn. Through a rather harrowing series of events, we were able to fight off the ruffians, retrieve the stolen research and test projects, and take back my daughter. But... I was fatally wounded in the process.

 

Cap: Oh my.

 

Brain: 'Oh my' indeed. And, with the current state of medical science, a mere hospital would not be able to properly treat me, I'm afraid. Fortunately, as I told you, I had been working on my research into telepathy. Jim knew my work as well, and he even had some dabbling in surgery. As such, he was able to 'transform' me, you could say, into the form you see before yourselves now.

 

Cap: ...My lord man. I... I don't know what to say--

 

Brain: There is nothing to say. Yes, having an actual body was... appreciated, but with the abilities I now possess, it is no longer necessary. I am quite possibly the most powerful telepathy currently alive, at least in our generation. Oh, perhaps in later years, someone might surpass me – some bald-headed fellow, perhaps – but for now, I posses talents without equal, of that, you can be certain!

 

GL: So... what can you do, exactly?

 

Brain: Why, my dear boy! ...Well, it depends, actually. Technically, my powers can reach so far as to cross over this entire country, but for now, at that range, I can only read surface thoughts, as well as retrieve names. That is how our Government was able to 'round up' you Superheroes, as it were. But rest assured, your secrets are, for the most part, safe with me. Colonel Ross, who will be your liaison, is the only other who knows your names. Otherwise, I keep all such information, except for Superhero identities and their most recent locations, to myself. No-one else knows who you all really are. I respect what you all do – what you are truly capable of – and it my goal to support that capability to it's fullest.

 

GL: [Looks back towards Ross.] And how do we know he just won't tell anyone else?

 

Ross: Because the little shit promised to give me an aneurism like I wouldn't believe if I did.

 

Brain: Yes, because you see, any attempts to operate on me and make myself... more to the military's liking, would not end well for them, as my powers only increase the further someone is within my range. And even if they were to operate, who knows what would happen to my oh-so valuable mind if they did? It's entirely possible that they would lose one of their most valuable resources in their entire history.

 

Alan: So you say. ...But, at least at this point, I guess there's not much more to do but to trust you, and go along with this ''Invaders for Justice' deal.

 

Brain: Indeed. Mr.Scott, while my powers do extend beyond my current radius, which, considering where I am now, compasses much of the whole of the united states, there is such a thing as spies. I can feel them, Mr.Scott; if not anything below their surfaces thoughts, I can still grasp their base feelings and emotions. And while some may only be lost and confused, others... others contain nothing but ill will for this country, as well as many more within the world. And those are just spies. Being 'only' a brain in a jar, as some might say, made me truly&fully aware of just what sort of threat we face. And, if we are to meet it head on, we are going to need all the help that we can acquire. Do I make myself clear?

 

Alan: ...Well. [Smiles] After that salespitch, how can I refuse? Understand, I'm still not fully sure about all this, but... when I made my oath on that ring, when I swore to make sure that nothing like what happened to all of those people – all of those people on that train – ever happened again, I vowed to stick to that oath to the end. And, from what else I've heard about this 'Axis of Evil', well, let's just say I'd really be sticking my head in the sand if I didn't go through with this.

 

Cap: [Also smiles.] Good to hear, Mr.Scott. You know – and I guess you can hear this now – I've secretly been overseas fighting the good fight over several months now, even before our good ol' USA officially got into this war. I've seen... well, let's just say things haven't always been easy. About the only real friend I've had over there was my partner, Bucky, but...

 

Alan: But what?

 

Cap: ...Well, let's just say it'll be nice to have someone more my age to talk to.

 

Brain: Oh, you'll have plenty more friends and allies to talk to before this is all over, I assure you, so long as this all goes as planned.

 

Cap: Whatever you say, Brain.

 

Brain: Oh, you can call me... The Eternal Brain!

Chapter Text

                                                                                 Scene 1

 

[We're now back in Chicago, in a decrypt old warehouse during the dead of the night. Not much to say about it, which makes it the perfect place for a dropoff. A truck then starts driving up the road. It drives up the warehourse garage and, as the driver looks both ways to make sure there isn't anyone else around, heads in. Unfortunately for him, he should probably have checked the top of his truck when he heard the faintest of noises from up top, for Dr.Midnight is taking a ride on the truck's roof. The truck isn't moving all that quickly, and Dr.Midnight is hanging right on, and so, on he stays. The truck driver then steps out to open up the garage. Having done so, with not much effort, given that he's 8'ft tall and rather darn muscular, he heads straight back to the driver's seat, not even bothering to notice the dark silhouette atop this truck's roof, and drives straight in.

Meanwhile, across the street, another figure stares intently at the warehouse, with eyes that seem dead, and yet, are opened wide and fixated upon the warehouse. She is a woman, with long blond hair that slowly blows up and down, back and forth, like it is constantly being influenced by a steady breeze. She's dressed all purple from her neck to her waist, all except for her bare hands. Hot-red boots with a pattern on top that looks like a simple yellow flame reach up to just below the knee. She wears a long&wide billowing cape that seems almost ethereal, being made up of wide, alternating stripes of deep blue and murky green, and a small hourglass can be seen attached to the cape on the front of her neck. And on her chest is an image of a lighter shade of purple then the rest; an image designed to look almost like that of a spider; like a black widow. Her cheeks are sullen, her brow is furrowed, and her eyebrows are lowered in what seems to be an eternal state of anger&contempt. And, try as she might otherwise, she remembers. She remembers a man in a brown coat barging into her own house, her own room. He claims that she did... something... to his family – she can't quite remember what – and now, they are all gone. And soon, with the press of a trigger, she's gone too. The next thing she remembers is awakening in a palace filled with horrors so great that mankind could scarcely conceive them; of course, now, she can imagine&conceive them perfectly. Gone is the simple purple dress that she wore in life, and now, she is clad in the attire she's still dressed in now. She is confronted by a man in thin red cloth, with a long red cape, wild,&somewhat long brown hair, pale eyes, and a wicked grin. His name is... she cannot quite remember that either. Me... Mephist... No matter. He gives her leave to take her revenge on a man who might not honestly deserve it. She does so. And then, he gives her a new mission; to seek out still-living souls that have done great evil, and to bring them to him. It has been a month since then. And now, after a few successful such soul-bringings, she is standing across from what she intends to be her biggest reaping yet.

 

???: Hello

 

[The strange woman doesn't even bother to turn around to face this new stranger that calls out to her. The stranger in question seems to be dressed in a brown suit and a matching trenchoat. His hair is red and combed back, with just a tuft of silver sticking out.]

 

Stranger: Name's Corrigan, Jim Corrigan. Chicago PD. I'd like to ask you a few questions, Ms--

 

Strange Woman: [Still facing the warehouse.] Do not lie to me, guardian! I know who and what you truly are. But I would think that you would be willing to condone my actions, in this case. Do we not work towards the same end, you and I?

 

Corrigan: ...Ms, I don't know what you're talkin' about, but--

Strange Woman: DO NOT LIE TO ME!

 

Corrigan: [Hesitates for a moment, before smiling wryly, and putting his hands up as if he's under arrest.] Lady, I gotta' hand it to you; you got part of it, but you're still not quite there...

 

Strange Woman: …

 

Corrigan: See, it's true that there's... that there's somethin' strange 'bout me, yeah, I know. But I'm the one in control here now, not him. For now, leastways. ...But, I guess the jig's up. So let me tell this to you straight, lady; there's somethin' of a key difference 'tween you'n'me. You do work for whichever lord of whichever underworld happens to be on rolecall this week. Me; me, I serve... a higher force, you could say...

 

Strange Woman: [Points across the street] But would not these foul wretches fall to the same place, regardless of who does the deed?

 

Corrigan: Least with me, there's a chance. I'm also not quite as vindictive as you seem to be. Not yet, anyway...

 

Strange Woman: SILENCE! ...They are arriving for the 'dropoff.'

 

[A group of mobsters in zoot suits have parked their cars around the corner, and are now walking up to the warehouse.]

 

Strange Woman: I must enact... vengeance...

 

Corrigan: Lady, you don't know what vengeance really is. 'Sides, there's already someone in there who can handle this--

 

Strange Woman: You do not understand! I... I must--

 

[The mobsters have already walked into the warehouse by now. Her eyes then nearly pop out, as she flies over like a dart to the warehouse.]

 

Corrigan: Ah, hell... Look, I tried to talk to her... You wanna' handle it? ...Fine, fine. Just let me keep some control, kay? Some guys might not be so deserving of 'vengeance' as you or the girl seem to think...

 

Scene 2

 

[Meanwhile, with the mobsters now inside the warehourse...]

 

Biff: Okay okay okay, people; let's get the goods!

 

Boff: Biff... you heard about...

 

Biff: Bout what?

 

Boff: Bout... the other night? The other midnight, if you catch my drift?

Biff: Pffffft! Seriously? That's what got you worked up? Listen, if that's true – and I'm just sayin' if – if that's true, then the guy just got lucky! Either that, or our friends back there deserved to get the stuffing beaten out of 'em! Must've been real pansies to just let him--

 

Strange Woman: SINNERS!

 

Biff: ...The hell?

 

Dr.Midnight: [Now hiding behind the truck, he whispers to himself--] I could say the same thing...

 

[Darting into the warehouse like a homing missile, her hand outstretched, her palm lands straight onto Biff; as soon as she does so, the man's face starts to burn--]

 

Biff: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!

 

The other mobsters&the truck driver, now horrified, whip out their pistols and start unloading the heat on the woman. She slightly recoils as the bullets lodge into her skin, but it's only seconds after impact that the bullets simply slide out, as her wounds heal. The other mobsters get ready to run for their lives, but the woman simply gets ready to dart off after another victim, until--

 

Dr.Midnight: STOP! [He takes a small black ball from his belt, quickly hurls it towards the ground, and once it hits, it unleashes the same kind of strange dark substance that filled the bar the other night. He then tries to take out the mobsters, now running around and stumbling in fear and hysteria, but as he tries to do so, he can't but help but hear more sounds of burning and screams of agony in the darkness. When it finally lifts, half of the thugs have been knocked out by him, but the other half's faces have been burned to cinders.

 

Dr.Midnight: [Slowly surveys the horror before him agape, before slowly lifting his neck to face the strange woman, his teeth practically clenched to the grindstone. He then rushes her, slams her against a wall, and grabs her by the piece of her cape that keeps the hourglass attached.] What did you just do?

 

[The strange woman gives no response.]

 

Dr.Midnight: ANSWER ME!

 

Strange Woman: I simply continued my eternal mission.

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Mission?

 

Strange Woman: To take vengeance upon those whose souls are as black as sulfur, whose deeds make them deserved to be cast into the everlasting fires of--!

 

Dr.Midnight: CUT THE CRAP! ...All I can see is some sick woman who barged in here, and considers herself some sort of judge, jury, and –

 

Strange Woman: Are you not the same?

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Excuse me?

 

Strange Woman: I know of you. ...Dr.Midnight, it it not? Every night, you clothe yourself in attire as strange as mine, and you take it upon yourself to deliver vengeance.

 

Dr.Midnight: Not vengeance. Not anymore. Justice.

 

Strange Woman: Are those not two sides of the same coin?

 

Dr.Midnight: You can't be serious... Look lady, I'm not against... against killing, so long as it's in self-defense. Or, come to think of it, if I ever find myself in a war, which is starting to become a very real possibility. But... but this? This is cold blooded murder, lady, plain and simple.

 

???: Perhaps... But a time is soon coming in which she may, over time, be able to truly learn what you preach.

 

Dr.Midnight: Ah, hell... {Just as I was going to ask her where in the world she came from...} What now?

 

[Floating into the warehouse is what seems to be some sort of ghostly spectre, with his skin a sickly, glowing white, and dressed only in a green hooded cloak and matching underwear.]

 

Dr.Midnight: ...I've heard about you. Of course, it's only through rumours and stories, but... I've heard about a tall, white man – a spirit, perhaps – who goes around dealing 'vengeance' to those who supposedly deserve it. If you've been listening in for the last minute or so, then you know what I think about 'vengeance.'

 

Spectre: You didn't always used to think so...

 

Dr.Midnight: [His right fist starts to clench.] That's... in the past. I took care of it, and handled it. Without killing anyone, I might add.

 

Spectre: Perhaps. But you might be due to remember that, so far, I have only acted to prevent crimes against other souls in progress. My end results can still be a tad... messy at times, but I still posses better judgment then this harlot. ...I could simply wipe her out. At this point, she is no better than a demon, or a ghoul. And yet...

 

Dr.Midnight: And yet what?

 

Spectre: Charles McNider--

 

Dr.Midnight: [Readies a small, sharp owl-shaped projectile from his belt.] How do you know my name?!

 

Spectre: I know many things. Such as that, soon, you will find yourself engaged in acts that go against the very fiber of your being.

 

Dr.Midnight: ...The war?

 

Spectre: Very deductive, Mr.Mcnider. Yes, the war. While you, as a doctor at heart, will be finding yourself saving lives more often then not, there will be times where you must be prepared to act against the very oath that you took so long ago.

 

Dr.Midnight: ...What does this have to do with the murdering hussy?

 

Spectre: The 'hussy', as you call her – her acts are not entirely her own.

 

Dr.Midnight: Oh?

 

Spectre: She does not know this herself, not truly, and must discover it on her own, but she is merely a victim of a higher-stakes game. A 'game' in which I am sadly a part of.

 

Dr.Midnight: ...The game of life&death, you mean?

 

Spectre: In a sense. But Mr.McNider. You will soon – very soon – be contacted by your Government. They shall require your services, as well as that of many other costumed heroes. And you shall vouch for this... 'Black Widow' to count among them.

 

Black Widow: WHAT?!

 

Spectre: Widow. If you ally yourself with this force I speak of, you shall be able to fight an evil which, in this day and age, sees no other equal. And if you are wondering why your master has not summoned himself in sheer fury and anger at a meeting between these two sides of the coin, it is because he sees sense in what I say. And the means in which the battle against this evil is fought is, sadly, not too dissimilar to your own.

 

Dr.Midnight: What, so you're saying we should kick her out of the country and let her enact bloody, burning horror those who supposedly deserve it, just because--

 

Spectre: Some of them. Others are merely roped in, either out fear for their own lives, or because they believe what they are doing is truly just. But others... others do not deserve such a generous verdict from me. But in the end, it matters not much, for they are all being directed be three foul men, one of which may well be counted as the most hated man in all of history  in later years.

 

Dr.Midnight: And just what will bringing this murderer along accomplish?

 

Spectre: More then you might think. Including, much to her and her master's chagrin, her own salvation. They both know not how, but I know.

 

Dr.Midnight: Do you? Mind telling us how?

 

[The Spectre merely smiles and winks, before vanishing straight into thin air.]

 

Dr.Midnight: ...You know, I often give others the same effect, but I think this is the first time I've seen someone do it to me. [He then turns to the Widow.] ...Alright, you'd better listen up, because I'm not going to repeat myself. I don't much care for you at this point, nor do I trust you where I can throw you. But... he has a point. Instead of trying - -and failing, now that I think about it – to bring you into court, we might as well put you where you'll be of most use. As much as I really hate to say it, we probably need all the help we can get. But I'm not letting you out of my sight for a minute, you understand me?

 

Widow: Mr.Mcnider--

 

Dr.Midnight: DON'T! Don't... call me that. Not you. ...Dr.Midnight will do.

 

Widow: ...Very well. Dr.Midnight. Why do you think I have never laid a hand upon you, even though you have done so to my own person? It is because you are not worthy of vengeance. Most beings such as yourself are not. And the ang-- the... Spectre, is correct, on one count; I am not always... coherent, but I do recall mention of a great force amassing itself across the Pacific. And now that I do recall... I feel that is where my true calling lies.

 

Dr.Midnight: [Not happy.] Glad to hear it. In the meantime, you're coming over to my place. If there's anyone coming to... I don't know, round us up for some greater purpose or what-have-you, it'll be best to just wait there.

 

Widow: Whatever you say, Mortal...

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Why do I feel like I'm making a huge mistake?

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

 

Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. Among the various fishes, corals, reefs, sponges, seaweed, seastars, and more, there is one sight of particular interest; a strange, floating device that looks like a sort of small, metallic eye, with a small blue dot for an iris. It is cruising along the depths of the sea, searching for... something, until it comes across what it desires; a place it has been to before. Off in the distance, on the ocean sand, is a city; a majestic display of spiraling towers, stone edifices, and countless buildings as far as the eye can see. And swimming throughout the city is it's people. They are all blue-skinned, with webbed hands and feet, and fins on their wrist and ankles, and gills on their necks. Their hair, which strangely comes in 'normal' colors that one would find on the surface, is long and flowing in the briny deep; they wear little clothing, for such things would only become instantly wet in such deep water, so they only wear what we could call underwear, designed specially to resist the pounding waves of the deep ocean; that, and long capes for officials and the like. The only thing lacking about this city would be that, technologically speaking, it is rather... behind in some areas, aside from the pressure-resistant clothing, compared to the surface. The city's architecture speaks more of some sort of ancient Babylonian then of 1942. And to both the watching eye, and it's master, this makes it ripe for the picking. As it flies off, away from the city, we ourselves delve deeper into it, into the grand enormous castle that lies at the center of the city. We explore further still into the castle, traveling throughout it's long, blue-green halls until, finally, we arrive in a rather large room; a throneroom. There is no carpet, for such a carpet would only get wet. Sitting on the throne is a rather large, burly, middle-aged Atlantian with a long beard&hair; sitting to the left in a smaller chair is an equally middle-aged woman, with long, seemingly uncut hair as well, and with somewhat... large features. And sitting at the right of the throne is one who, at first glance, seems rather... different from the other two. Unlike the others, his skin is not blue, nor is his hair long, and he does not have fins or or gills. He still not does wear much, but instead of what we would call underwear, he instead is dressed in our equivalent of swimtrunks, colored seaweed green. His skin is like that of humans; his hair is black&cropped, and his physique is tall&lean, yet fraught with frighteningly powerful sinews. There is a little wing on the right side of his right heel, and on the left side of his left heel.He has one leg crossed against the other; his right elbow is leaning on the right arm of his chair, while his right hand holds his rather handsome face, which currently is tilted in sheer and utter boredom, as well as a shadow of annoyance.

Before them is a man in seagreen underwar and a long blue cape that floats in the sea. He also seems to be holding a silver trident. He bows towards the king, and the king thus raises his hand, as if telling him he can go. It appears that some sort of official conversation and dialogue has just taken place, and with it concluded, the Atlantian takes his leave.]

 

King: [His speech, like all Atlantians underwater, sounds garbled and unclear to us, though as the Atlantians have lived underwater for uncountable millenia, they have gotten used to such speech long ago. They are also speaking in no language still left in any records upon the surface, but for our purposes, we will be able to hear them as though they were speaking perfect English.] Well, that was certainly interesting.

 

Queen: How so? All I saw was the royal treasurer merely giving the annual account.

 

King: Did you? Well, I suppose that I saw differently. If you looked closely, you could see just the slightest of irregularities in his speech, his mannerisms, his very state of being...

 

Queen: Are you sure you are not merely over-analyzing the man, husband?

 

King: My dear Fen, I never over-analyze; in fact, I consider under-analyzing to be the far greater offense. No, I stand by my observations; I am convinced that that man is trying to hide something. Perhaps he, or someone he knows, purloined our coffers for purposes of his own. Why, I would not know. ...Or perhaps there is something else on his mind. An ailing family member, perhaps? ...What say you, Prince Namor?

 

Namor: [The expression of the man on the right near-instantly switches from utter boredom, to utter frustration. He lifts his head off of his right hand, and slowly turns his neck to face his king.] What do I think?

 

King: ...Yes, indeed. After all, my dear son, you are a noble, respected Prince of the blood. ...In a manner of speaking. And I dare say, you have accomplished much more then even I ever accomplished in my own youth--

 

Namor: [Interjecting] Indeed.

 

King: [Rather put-off.] ...As I was saying, in my youth. But it is from my experience that the most accomplished measures and acts of a king, of a ruler, come from his wisdom, and, as I just said, experience, the latter of which he can only acquire later in life. But wisdom; now, wisdom; well, experience can supplement wisdom, but it is not always necessary. Tell me, Prince Namor; what are your thoughts on this matter?

 

Namor: [Contemplates the current situation, then briefly closes his eyes, and smiles wryly.] My thoughts... You wish to hear my thoughts?

 

King: ...Did I not say so, just a moment ago? Must a King repeat himself?

 

Namor: Of course not, of course not. ...My thoughts. ...I am going to assume that you wish me to be completely and utterly honest with both yourself, and myself, and so, I will tell you how I truly feel about the current 'situation.'

 

King: ...Which is?

 

Namor: [Grabs a covered bowl of shrimp on a small table next to his chair, and slams it n a righteous fury upon the ground, shattering it; the shrimp then begin to flow straight up to the ceiling.]

 

King: Namor! What is the meaning of--

 

Namor: I'll tell you what is 'the meaning of.' Over 2 years ago, I ventured to the surface world, to take vengeance upon crimes committed upon our people in the past!

 

King: ...Yes, we know of this. We know of the vicious bombs that plagued our people due to 'scientific expeditions', as we later learned they called them. But I have done some thinking on the matter. Why would they bomb us? We had done nothing to them. Perhaps it was all merely a part of something separate altogether, and we were merely caught in the--

 

Namor: I do not care about the reasons! What matters is that, 20 years ago today, countless numbers of our people were slaughtered!

 

King: But Namor... you know that I am not your true father, do you not?

 

Namor: ...Yes, yes. I know. I know of my true father. But regardless, does that change the crimes he commited, intentional or otherwise?! And when I learned the truth, I ventured to the surface world! I did things – met people, beings – such as you could never dream! And I was well on my way to dealing back to the surface world at least a fraction of what was done to us.

 

King: And then you were called back.

 

Namor: Yes, I was. And now, I think I know why! Because a fool of a father, who I am not even related to by blood, had a change in conscience!

 

King: [Furiously rises from his chair.] DO NOT SPEAK TO YOUR KING IN SUCH A WAY!

 

Namor: [Rises in an arguably even greater fury.] AND WHY SHOULD I NOT?! [He flexes his right arm.] I am different then you, all of you, this I know. I have the power. Thus, do I not have the right?

 

[The two glare at each other with evergrowing intensity; the queen merely looks on with cold, calculating eyes, as if just waiting to see how this ultimately turns out. Then, after a while, both figures concede, backing down and turning away from each other.]

 

Namor: ...Father... I... I am sorry. It is just... Much as I loathe to admit it, I was... enjoying myself upon the surface. Being there, even as an emissary of vengeance – it was... breathtaking. And yet... I could not forgive them for the wrongs done to my-- to our people. Or so I thought. ...Betty Ross was her name. Do not be angry father; we have not been... intimate, or anything of the sort. But... she had begun to give me cause to consider that, perhaps... there was another way. ...And before I could properly make up my mind, I was called back here! Not only can I not get her or the surface world off of my mind, but I am stuck here, in this dull, misbegotten castle with nothing much more to do then, as the surface-dwellers are beginning to say, 'twiddle my thumbs!' It is as if I were a whale trapped upon the surface in a cage, unable to sort out my thoughts, but also unable to truly take any action of them!

 

King: ...Son. I know you are not my son of blood, but you are still my son in heart. And I have some idea of what you feel. I too once felt nothing fury and rage for the surface dwellers. I felt that their crimes were unredeemable; nothing could curb my thoughts of murderous vengeance. But... during these last few years, as I heard of your exploits on the surface world, I wondered; were not your actions no better then those committed against us? Should we truly stoop to such a level as them? No, my son; in order to truly vindicate ourselves against the surface dwellers, we must prove that we are truly better than them, by not resorting to actions such as theirs. ...But, unfortunately, your recent actions have not done much to prove this. Which is understandable, as I only truly came to this conclusion within the last few months. And you; you, Prince Namor, are my son, and as such, you are beginning to come to that same conclusion yourself, are you not?

 

Namor: ...Perhaps.

 

King: [A beaming smiles grows upon his face.] Splendid! Ha-ha! ...So, do you realize now why I called you back to your home, your kingdom?

 

Namor: ...To give both myself and the surface dwellers time to think about our actions, and hopefully, lessen the immediate memories of such blows before we encounter each other next.

 

King: Precisely! My boy, you are indeed my son, despite your... unusual heritage. Come, my son; let us have a drink together; I believe that you are old enough, are you not?

 

Namor: [Hesitates at first, before giving in with a small smile, and a short bow.] It would be my honor... Father.

 

King: Ha-ha! [Gives Namor a large pat on his shoulder.] Well then, shall we--

 

[Just then, an incredibly loud, incredibly enormous explosion rocks the castle; everyone and everything shakes and quakes, and everyone soon falls to the ground.

 

King: ...What in the name of Poseidon--

 

[Another explosion rocks the capital, as small pieces of stone begin to fall from the ceiling, and subsequently float throughout the water.]

 

Namor: Father! I am much stronger and more durable then yourself! I shall go, and--

 

King: No, my boy! Fen, you stay; make sure all the servants and visitors evacuate the castle. Namor; you will come with me. [He grabs a large, golden trident sitting next to his throne.] Whatever is befalling our great kingdom shall have to answer to the both us! Come, my son!

 

Namor: ...Yes, Father!

 

[The two then swim as fast as they possibly can – or even greater than – through the waves, as they rush to see just what could be causing this attack on their home. And as soon as they arrive outside, they see it. It is an entire platoon of submarines – at least 30 – each unleashing one bomb after another, not just on the castle, but on the entire city. And on each and every submarine is none other then a symbol that is unfamiliar to the King, but which Namor may vaguely recall from his trips to the surface-world; a red rectangle, with a white circle in the center, and painted on that circle was none other than a symbol of one of the greatest forces of terror on the surface world; a swastika. But before they have any time to really think about the sight before them, a submarine directly above them has unleashed another bomb, and--]

 

King: NAMOR! STAY BACK! [Blinded by emotion and the sheer suddenness off the situation at hand, he pushes Namor aside, probably to protect his son, and dives straight for the bomb, trident first, intent on attacking it head on.]

 

Namor:FATHER! [He swims after him, but is too late; the bomb reaches the King first, exploding in a fiery, explosive impact above Namor, and incarcerating the king in it's wake...]

 

Namor: FAATHEEEEEEEEEEERR!!!

 

 

Chapter Text

                                                                                                     Scene 1

 

[We return to the room in the basement of the Pentagon, not long after we last left it, with Captain America, Green Lantern, Colonel Ross, and the Eternal Brain still inside...

 

Eternal Brain: ...Hm?

 

Cap: Something up, Professor?

 

Eternal Brain: Hm? ...Oh, yes, right. ...You don't say?

 

GL: [Raises an eyebrow] Uh, professor?

 

Eternal Brain: Yes, I understand. We shall arrange whomever we've acquired to rendezvous with both you, and our newly arriving guest, as soon as possible. Ta-ta!

 

Ross: Professor Camody!

 

Eternal Brain: What... Oh, yes! Sorry about that! I suppose I might have seemed to be off in my own little world, eh?

 

GL: Professor, what--

 

Cap: Now hold on there, soldier. Now that I think about it, I think I get what the Professor here was up to. Or an idea, anyway.

 

GL: ...Was he... talking to someone?

 

Eternal Brain: Not persay, but still rather astute! No, I was thinking; rather, I was exchanging thoughtwaves with another of our band--

 

GL: Another telepath?

 

Eternal Brain: My dear lord, no! Well, not precisely. There is a Mystery Man – Mastermind Excello, as he calls himself – who, while not possessing talents on par with mine, still has enough ability to pick up on my own brainwaves, and in turn, communicate with them.

 

GL: And what does this 'Mastermind' have to say?

 

Eternal Brain: Well, my dear boy, that is where matters get somewhat... complicated. You see, Excello's greatest talent lies in his skill of foresight.

 

GL: ...Come again?

 

Eternal Brain: Excello is... for now, let us merely say that he is among those whose strange abilities are granted upon them naturally, rather then through some experiment or chance of fate or another. ...Although that is not exactly accurate; fate did intervene, for his abilities were of a latent nature, only activating later in life, and only due to what some may call divine intervention. But back to our business; Excello has the gift of foresight in that he is able to sense how things should be, or are how they are going to be; usually, his senses are only rather vague, but he is still able to to ascertain who is supposed to be where, and when.

 

GL: ...Uh-huh.

 

Cap: [Speaking to GL] Mister, if you can carve a little ring out of some spacerock and create near anything you can think of – if someone can put his brain in a jar, and reach out across the whole nation – then I think it's safe to say that someone could possibly – possibly – be able to know the future, at least to some extent.

 

Eternal Brain: Indeed! And it is according to Excello's gift of foresight that the three of you – yes, you as well, Colonel – must arrive at the New York City bay as soon as possible. A few select others will also be required, it seems. Thankfully, I have already made contact with another who is able to--

 

GL: 'Another?' Who--

 

Cap: Don't interrupt the man, GL.

 

Eternal Brain: I am not exactly a 'man' in my current state, Captain, but I appreciate the sentiment. As I was saying, I already have one who should be able to accomplish this task. Due to a force that neither of us truly understands, he operates on an irregular 'frequency' when he is... 'traveling', and is thus much more susceptible to my brainwaves then most.

 

GL: Is that so?

 

Eternal Brain: It is so. And his name is... the FLASH!

 

                                                                                               Scene 2:

 

[We open our scene at a spacious apartment room in the middle of the night. A figure, now barely able to be made out, leaps through an unlocked window, and proceeds to slip through the darkness with incredible ease, as another – a woman – follows beside him. He then flips on a switch on what is revealed to be a lamp, as it illuminates both itself, and the wider room. Both the floor, wall, and carpet are a dark green. There are three small windows on one side of the room, and on the opposite is a closed door. Next to the door, on the wall, are various pinned-up articles written by Charles McNider, all seeming to hammer down on 'injustices' caused by the mob. There is a brown chair with a small, rectangular table in the middle of the room, and on a third wall, there is a door that seems to link to yet another room. There is also a refrigerator and a small kitchen&sink. Still standing near the light are none other then Dr.Midnight and the Black Widow, having arrived at this place after leaving the scene of the warehouse.]

 

Dr.Midnight: Well, we're here. It's not much, but it's home. I used to have a rather spiffy old mansion, but--

 

[As Midnight turns to face the Widow, she does not appear to be so much as leaning an ear towards him. She is instead slowly turning around, surveying the room with wide open eyes in observation.]

 

Black Widow: This place is... adequate.

 

Dr.Midnight: Gee, thanks for the compliment. Look, I didn't have to bring you back here, you know. I could have called the--

 

Black Widow [Doesn't even turn around to face him.] If you were going to do such a thing, you would already have done so. And even if you had tried... [Slowly turns around to face McNider, her face strangely calm,] if you had tried, we would not be having this conversation.

 

Dr.Midnight: ...I see.

 

Black Widow: Mr.McNider; there are only two types of beings that I would dare ever touch. Those who are guilty of committing a grievous wrong, and those who keep me from my work. In your case, the work was already done; that is why you are still able to prattle on as you are.

 

Dr.Midnight: [Sighs, before spending a moment in thought.] You know? Much as I'd love to, starting another argument over this won't get us anywhere. And might leave me wound up as my own patient.

 

Black Widow: If it ever came to that, McNider, then you would not be here long enough to tend to your new 'patient' at all.

 

Dr.Midnight: Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. You know what? You already seem to know so much about me--

 

Black Widow: I know enough.

 

Dr.Midnight. Uh-huh. Yeah, well, that just proves my point; see, I know hardly anything about you.

 

Black Widow: ...I...

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Huh?

 

Black Widow: ...Mr.Mcnider--

 

Dr.Midnight: Look; just call me Charles, okay?

 

Black Widow: ...Very well. Charles; I exist for one purpose, and one purpose only; to enact vengeance upon those who have committed great injustice against others.

 

Dr.Midnight: Somehow, I don't buy that. You look like a human being, you talk like a human being; unless you were sent here as a baby in a spaceship from another planet, then you should still be a human being. You must have done something before this whole vengeance shtick you seem to be bent on; in fact, if you ask me, our real purpose here is to live. That's why we were born into this world in the first place, regardless of anything else, and that's what we should still be aiming our lives towards. What you talk about is ending life; you're talking about 'vengeance'--

 

Black Widow: Did you not seek such a course of action yourself, long ago?

 

Dr.Midnight: [Sighs even more heavily then before, and shakes his head.] I guess I have no choice, do I? Yes, I attempted to seek 'vengeance' and believe me, I certainly thought about just ending him right then and there, and-- look, why don't I just take it from the top? [Sits down in the chair at his table, and collects his thoughts in preparation.] As you might have guessed from my self-styled title, I'm a doctor – or was. I was pretty good at it too, and you could say it was my life's work. I'd always wanted my life to matter, to mean something; what better way to prove that then making a difference in other people's lives? I also trained in self defense; aside from that, I had some knowledge in science&chemistry, and used that knowledge to work on a brand new formula in my spare time; what little I had of it, anyway. It was a formula designed to help the regenerative process; nothing quite as magnificent as healing whole limbs, but the overall speed of the process would still be increased. Unfortunately, I was never able to complete the damn thing, and for one real reason; 'Boss' Maroni. Back when I lived in New York City, he was what you'd call an up-and-comer; not exactly the city's #1 bigshot, but he could've been, given time. Anyway, a few years back, there was an informant for him who had a change in conscience; could've been out of the goodness of his heart – though I doubt it – or maybe he'd done something to tick Maroni off and wanted protection, but either way, he was determined to tell the police everything heknew. Unfortunately, Maroni got wind of this, and shot him right in the stomach. Now, seeing as I was one of the biggest, most reputable doctors in the town, I was one of the first people the police thought of to call. It seemed like a good cause, and a life was in danger; how could I refuse? Unfortunately, I seemed to have had the worst timing possible that day. One of Maroni's men was a rather careful sort. Also kind of nutty. He came back to double check, and looked through a window in his home just as I arrived. They couldn't afford to move the body, or at least not by much, so getting him home, which was pretty close at the time of the injury, was about all they could do for him until they could bring someone in. Anyway, the crazie spotted me as soon as I arrived. Now, like I said, this guy was nuts; I can't think of any other reason why he'd toss a grenade of all things into the room. Wouldn't exactly be inconspicuous, for one thing, but maybe he figured there was nothing the cops could really do about it. He certainly got proved wrong when he was mowed down by a squad of angry cops not long after the incident; apparently, he didn't just blow up the informant, he also blew up a cop.

 

Widow: And you?

 

Dr.Midnight: [Chuckles.] Well, I guess you could say I wasn't exactly up and ready for much of anything, but, much to the shock and surprise of nearly everyone at the hospital, I pulled through. Normally, that would be a cause for celebration – and believe me, I'm happy to just be alive – but at the time, I didn't realize just how good I got it...

 

[Dr.Midnight then gets out of his chair, and moves closer to the lamp, taking off his goggles after he gets right next to it. His eyes are distant and unfocused, as it not really focusing on much at all.]

 

Black Widow: [Closes her eyes.] ...I knew that you had once acted for vengeance, but until now... I knew not why.

 

Dr.Midnight: [Now obviously blind.] Yeah, well, it's understandable. I certainly didn't act like someone who couldn't so much as see his own nose, did I? Now, most people when they find themselves blind, and not having been born with it, well, most people tend to get... upset, to say the least. Myself... less so. You'd think I'd be much more put out at never being able to see the sun with my own eyes again, but maybe it was because, somewhere deep in my subconscious, I already knew; something inside me knew that it wasn't the end...

 

Widow: ...Charles?

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Sorry; back to the point. Instead of just lying down, I was adamant on doing something to strike back against those who took what was, at that time, everything, away from me. Of course, now being blind, I'd likely slit someone's throat with a scalpel sooner then do proper surgery, so instead, I thought of another way out. While being a doctor was always my first love, I always had some interest in being a writer; in fact, I'd already written a few medical articles when I could. So, I took to my pen; if I couldn't deal with Maroni in the flesh, I'd deal with him in the papers. Unfortunately, articles written by a doctor, regardless of how much rep he has, or how blinded he's been-- some people are just going to see it as senseless rambling, and others-- well, others were still too scared of Maroni to really do anything. And then... it happened.

I was just sitting in my chair, right in my old room back in New York – in the dark too, seeing as how there really wasn't much of a need for lights-- when, out of the blue, I heard a loud crash come from the windows; it sounded like something broke through the glass. Now, I'm not sure what it was – maybe instinct, or old force of habit-- but I threw off the bandages from my eyes, and-- I don't really know how it happened, but... I could see! I was seeing just as well as if I were in the light, if not more so. I immediately turned on the lights, and... nothing, again. My sight disappeared almost as soon as it returned. I grasped the air until finally, I was able to turn the lights off once again, and once again, I could see. I'm still not exactly sure why, but I have some theories. The one that makes the most sense is that I might be what some call a 'mutant.' Mutants still aren't too well known, nor are there that many of them, if they exist at all, but the theories, at least, are still out there. If I was a... well, a mutant, I'd likely be a latent one; I'm in my early 30's, but mutants are generally supposed to grow into their powers in their wonder years. I guess that losing my regular sense of sight might have triggered it, but... I'm still not sure. Either way, I could see it then and there, and what I saw was something you don't see too often; it was a bleeding, wounded owl; it probably got that way when it crashed through my window. To this day, I'm still not sure why it did that, but the facts are that it did.

 

Widow: What did you do with the creature?

 

Dr.Midnight: Do with it? What did you think I did with him?! ...That 'creature' as you call it, saved my life. Least I could do was save his. Hell, I even took him in as a pet; gave him a home. I guess healing him up made him pretty attached to me; the little bugger even accompanies me on my nightly rounds when he can, though he's been cooped up at the vet's for the last few days; bad case of indigestion. Anyway... So, at that point, two important facts were laid before me. The first was that I could now see in the dark! ...And the second, painfully obvious fact was that I could no longer see in broad daylight, or any daylight at all. Fortunately, as I said, I had something of a minor in science. I was able to make myself a pair of glasses and a pair of goggles using infrared. [Puts his goggles back on.] So long as I'm wearing these, I can see just as well as I did back before the crazy nut and the grenade. ...Unfortunately, using those wasn't such a great option in public. See, I still had some business with Maroni; he not only bombed a client of mine, but he also bombed me. And as far as I know, he'd done much worse before and since. Well, the police didn't seem to be taking care of him, so, I decided that enough was enough. Thankfully, I got myself an idea. There had already been masked men gallivanting throughout the country; 'Mystery Men', they called them. A few even called them 'Superheroes.' Fitting name for some, but not quite for me. Aside from being able to see in the dark, I wasn't really that 'super.' But what did I have, so long as I wore my goggles, was a better pair of eyes then anyone else could ever afford, as well as a few other things besides. Using my skills in chemistry, I was able to create an impossibly dark, cloud-like gas, which kept out all light until it eventually dissipated. I was able to concentrate this gas, and contain it within two separate types of containers; a small capsule, for when I need to unleash it quick, and larger-sized balls, capable of not only holding more gas, but also more suitable for throwing. Together with some small darts shaped like my new window-crashing friend and a few other odds and ends, I was almost set. All I needed was a costume, and a name. Well, as far as I could tell, that fateful owl crashed into my window at the stroke of midnight, coincidentally enough, so--

 

Widow: So you named yourself after midnight itself.

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Yes; yes I did, as I just told you. It's good to know you can state the perfectly obvious. ...Right. So, I had a name, and soon after, I fashioned myself a costume to boot. And then, to make a long story short, I got wind that another witness who wanted to testify on Maroni was on his hitlist. I saved him, and managed to not only beat the everloving snot out of Maroni, but also find enough evidence to finally put him in the bighouse. All it took was that fateful witness to seal the deal. ...Not that Witness, the crazy one in tights, but – you know what I mean. Since then, I've kept it up. I pretend to still be a completely blind man in public, so that no-one thinks I'm any sort of threat, but at night, I'm Dr.Midnight, superhero extraordinaire! Only now, instead of putting on the suit only to deal with my own problems – 'vengeance', as you seem to call it -- I instead use it to deal with other people's problems; taking out gangsters&crooks and bringing them to justice, and at the same time, I get to do what I love most; saving lives. Now, are you ready to tell me just where you come from, Ms... I don't even know your real name, do I?

 

Black Widow: ...Claire Voyant.

 

Dr.Midnight. Claire Voyant. ...Odd name, but I've heard stranger. But that still doesn't tell me what I want to know.

 

Black Widow: ...I...

 

Dr.Midnight: Yes?

 

Black Widow: [Shuts her eyes tight and holds her hands to her heads, as a piercing pain screams in her head, as she tries to remember more fully what happened to her that night a month ago.] ...I--

 

???: Hey, if the lady doesn't wanna' talk--

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Who--??

 

[Almost as if bursting out of the door, yet leaving it untouched, a red&blue blurry mass rushes through it, halting it's tracks right in front of Dr.Midnight. As it does so, it's features can be seen much more clearly, and it's evident from the red shirt, silver winged hat, a giant lightning bolt on his chest, and a cheerful grin a mile wide that this is one of the 'real' Superheroes that Dr.Midnight touched on; the Flash.

 

Flash: Sorry, sorry; normally, I don't eavesdrop, but, well, I just couldn't resist! Dr.Midnight, right

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Heard of you too. 'Flash' was it?

 

Flash: Got it right the first time! Though, since I know your name, I guess it's only fair for me to do the same. [Quickly bows, taking off his hat as he does so.] Jay Garrick's the name, and speed's the game!

 

Dr.Midnight: Charmed. ...How did you where I lived?

 

Flash: Oh, well, you've got the Professor to thank for that!

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Professor who?

 

Flash: Look, I'll tell you all about it on the way, but for now-- [The Flash finally notices the strange woman in the purple costume standing right behind him.] Look, sorry Ms, but-- you seem to be a Superhero too, from the looks of it. Hate to say it, but if you're wearing a suit and you've got powers or skills, you aren't really exempt from this.

 

Dr.Midnight: She does have... 'powers', but--

 

Black Widow: [Gives Dr.Midnight a stern glare.] Charles McNider. As much as I... appreciate your 'support', I believe that I can handle my own problems. ...Flash, was it? If this involves taking arms against the 'Axis of Evil', as it is called, I shall be more then delighted to accompany you.

 

Flash: Great! Well, I guess that settles it. We'd better get goin'...

 

Dr.Midnight: Now wait just a second...

 

[It's too late; Flash grabs both Dr.Midnight's hand, as well as the Widow's, and before they know it, the trio is off in a flash...]

Chapter Text

                                                                                 Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens high in the sky above the enameled plains of the American Midwest, as a rather strange sight soars through the sky. It appears to be sort of large, 6'ft flame, flying horizontally through the air, and yet, there seems to be a being – a man – wreathed in the fire. He seems to be heading in a straight line, throttling at full speed to get to a certain destination. However--]

 

???: Hey, buddy, where's the fire?!

 

Zipping right to this human torch now is what seems to be a man dressed in light- green spandex from his toes to his neckline, with a black belt around his waist. Two large lightning bolts reach from from his shoulders down over his breasts, and two smaller ones reach out from either side of his chest, one from the left and the other from the right. A series of small screws, each painted the same exact color as his spandex, dot around the neck-area of his spandex in a circle, each appearing as if they were bolted right into his skin. Curiously, his eyes are a deep, ocean blue, and his blond hair almost resembles gold. His body is lean, yet fit&athletic, and he has an arrogant, devil-may-care look on his face, complete with a wry grin. If one didn't know better, one could swear he was the spitting image of the vaunted master-race, and yet, from the way he greets the human torch, he doesn't appear to be on the side of the Axis. Not yet, anyway...

The human torch slows down just a tick, as the fire clears somewhat around his face. His head turns to face the aryan ideal before him. He falters for a bit, thinking that he's just seen the spitting image of an ideal nazi, but then seems to remember something...]

 

Torch: Dynamic Man, right?

 

Dynamic Man: So you've heard of me, huh? Have to say, I might not have been at this long as you, but my rep's certainly gotten 'round, huh?

 

Torch: ...Yeah. Look, I'd love to stay and chat, but--

 

Dynamic Man: Then we can move and chat, if that suits you better. We can both fly; that's one thing we have in common.

 

[After a moment, the Torch reluctantly gives in, though rather then having to slow down, he finds that he has to put on the heat to keep up with Dynamic Man, who doesn't seem to even be going near full blast.]

 

Dynamic Man: ...Say, Torch, where's your little buddy, from the newsreels? What was his name? Tyro.... Togo... Taco... [Snaps his finger] That's right! Toro! Where's the little spitfire gone off to?

 

Torch: ...He's visiting his folks back at the circus. Figured he needed a bit of time away from me for a change; hang out a bit with people more... more like himself.

 

Dynamic Man: [Puts two fingers to the side of his head in contemplation, for a brief moment.] 'Like himself...' Say, Torchy; mind telling me where you're headed now? Because, let me tell you, I've got the worst headache--

 

Torch: You too?

 

Dynamic Man: That's right. ...Say, are you heading towards--

 

Torch: New York?

 

Dynamic: ...Ever heard of a guy named the Eternal--

 

Torch: --Brain?

 

Dynamic Man: Well, I'll be doggoned! I guess we both got the same message, huh?

 

Human Torch: Or a similar one, at any rate. The New York Bay--

 

Dynamic Man: New York Bay. Somethin's gonna' happen there, it said. Somethin' that's gonna change all of our lives from here on out.

 

Human Torch: Yeah, I guess...

 

Dynamic Man: ...Somethin's got me curious, though. See, at least in my message, the Brain said that, normally, he couldn't really communicate with people until they were close enough; otherwise, he could only just feel 'em out. [He then zips around at seemingly lightning speed, appearing right in front of the Torch; he then promptly halts his flight, keeping himself floating in place.]

 

Torch: Hey, what's the idea--?!

 

Dynamic Man: He told me that the only way he could contact me then and there, was because he knew what I was. And, in a way, I'm the same as you.

 

Torch: ...What are you--?

 

Dynamic Man: Hey, don't go trying to deny it! Heck, I wasn't even there, but I've read the papers; you were supposed to be this bigshot, this new revolution in the history of humanity! Professor Horton's great new invention!

 

Torch: [His flames slowly begin to intensify.] An android.

 

Dynamic Man: Exactly. Course, things didn't go as either of you planned; you were able to shoot out flames from your whole body – your whole body – thanks to a mere fluke, and then the Professor, hell, the Professor has the gall to go and put you in a--

 

Torch: [The Torch really turns up the heat.] It's my own life! I don't need someone telling me what I already know...!

 

Dynamic Man: Hey, alright, alright already! Geez! Just... turn down the heat, will ya'?!

 

Torch: [Does as Dynamic Man demands.] ...Are you going somewhere with this?

 

Dynamic Man: You betcha'. As I told you... [Slowly points at himself, and then at the Torch] I'm the same as you.

 

Torch: You mean... you're a--

 

Dynamic Man: Got it right on your first try! I'm an android, like yourself. Course, in your case, your Professor seemed more interested in 'scientific achievement'; fame, glory, and moolah. But my Professor... my Professor... He had something of a... different goal in mind.

 

Torch: ...Which was?

 

Dynamic Man: He wanted to make 'The Perfect Man'. The man of the future! 'Course, the poor guy ended up kicking the bucket due to a heart attack, but he managed to live just long enough to polish me off; to 'perfect' me, you could say. Since then, I've done much the same as you; fighting crooks, crazy scientists – crazier then my Professor, anyway-- spies, sabatours, you name it; all in the name of making the world a better place!

 

Torch: A 'perfect' place?

 

Dynamic Man: [Doesn't seem to like that particular quip.] ...You goin' somewhere with that?

 

Torch: No, no; course not...

 

Dynamic Man: Good. ...But, you gotta' admit; me and you, we're birds of a feather! Peas in a pod! Course, you still got your powers from a fluke, as opposed to little ol' me, but them's the breaks. ...So, what's it like, being born, basically, as a full-grown adult? To go straight into a world that you don't even know if you're really ready for, or if it's even ready for you? You ever thought about any of that?

 

Torch: Well... not much. I mean--

 

Dynamic Man: Good, cause I certainly don't! Just live life for the moment and to the fullest, that's my motto!

 

Torch: Well... I don't know about that. I'm still trying to make sense of it. Of all... this. I mean, as you said, I was... I was created, not born, into a world that, maybe, I wasn't ready for. ...But, I guess that's just part of living. Sometimes, you just have to go in there, make the best of it, and make everything else up as you go along. I don't really know--

 

Dynamic Man: Yeah, well, that's one of us. ...What about your little spitfire?

 

Torch: Toro? Well... when I could find someone that had the same powers I did, it didn't matter if he was human; up until then, he was the closet being to someone like... like me, that I'd ever met. And... well, if you've read the papers, then you'd know that Toro's real parents died in a train crash. To make a long story short, he was adopted by a married couple who happened to be firebreathers at a circus troupe. I guess they somehow noticed Toro's natural talents. ...I've a done a bit of reading on it since, and as it turns out, well, the kid might be a mutant--

 

[Dynamic Man's expression suddenly turns from one of 'Sorta-kinda-listening-' to one of 'The hell?!']

 

Torch: ...Something wrong?

 

Dynamic Man: ...No, no, nothing...

 

Torch:... I could swear you took a double take when I said--

 

Dynamic Man: Look, you gonna' finish your story, or not?

 

Torch: ...Well, to be honest, there's not too much to tell. I was stopping by at a carnival during one of my flights across the country, and one thing just led to another, and I ended up discovering Toro's secret, which they weren't keeping a secret all that well to begin with. The parents decided that, due to my 'talents', that I should take care of the kid, at least for a while; teach him how to really hone his skills, his abilities, and hopefully, get him to understand himself a bit better. And Toro, well, he was the happiest kid in the world! He didn't care that I was an android; to him, all it mattered was that I was like him, at least on the surface, and that I was a Superhero. Though, to be honest, I've never really considered myself  a 'hero'; I've really just been at the right place at the right time. But, I don't know, maybe those who see me think differently...

 

Dynamic Man: Maybe, maybe. But you know what I think?

 

Torch: What?

 

Dynamic Man: I think it's high time we get our butts in gear, and get headin' on to ol' New York. We're needed there after all, aren't we?

 

Torch: ...Well, that's certainly a sharp change in the sub--

 

Dynamic Man: We goin' or not?!

 

Torch: Okay, okay! Geez! One minute you start this whole conversation, and the next--

 

Dynamic Man: Never mind. Let's just go. [He then zips off, flying at full throttle at a speed that the Torch can never hope to achieve.

 

Torch: Wonder what sunk his boat... [With the Dynamic Man now flying ahead, the Torch just shakes his flaming noggin, and follows him off into the distance...]

 

Chapter Text

                                                                                                  Scene 1

 

???: 'Maybe this wasn't such a good idea...'

 

[Our scene opens within a run-down factory in New York. A group of crooks wearing suits and cowboy hats are unleashing holy hell – AKA, bullets – upon a defunct conveyer belt. As ludicrous as such an act may seem, their true target isn't the conveyor belt itself; rather, it's who – or what – is behind the conveyor belt. Dressed in a suit, tie, gloves, cape, and fedora of various shades of purple, and wearing a purple mask with white eye-covers across his upper face, and wielding a pistol in each hand, the man hiding behind the conveyor was trying to recollect just how he got there in the first place, in the possible event of a premature demise...]

 

Man in Purple: [Thinking to himself, intending to write down all of this on the small notebook he keeps in one of his pockets as soon as he can. If he can...] 'I mean, after all, tracking down a few gangsters to some rundown excuse for a factory and trying to deliver them to 'Justice' – a rather subjective word, I might add, at least for some – while, in the end, getting nearly caught in a neverending storm of bullets isn't exactly one's idea of a night out, mine especially. Then again, maybe this was never a good idea. Maybe I should have just stayed at my desk at the Bugle, just getting the news written down and getting it out there. But I guess that, by that point, I'd done so many stories on gangsters, crime, even the occasional crooked cop, that I just didn't have faith in the police to take care of things anymore. I became a reporter so that I didn't have to be a reporter. I mean, okay, sure, if I wasn't a reporter, I might be out of a job, but... I didn't want there to have to be any more stories of theft, of gangsters, drive-by's, murder, rape – I only covered those stories to get the word out there; to get people to listen, and hopefully, maybe get all of this to just stop. But it didn't stop. It just kept going on and on and on, like it always had. Not even the cops seemed to be able to do much about it all, in the long run.

And then I got an idea. All over the country, reports of 'Superheroes' like Green Lantern, Human Torch, Flash, even Captain America, as well as stories of 'Mystery Men' – people like the Sandman or the Atom, who didn't have much in the way of Superpowers, if any of at all, but still fought the good fight anyway – kept trickling in. Well, I didn't know about the Superheroes, but if the Mystery Men could do it, why couldn't I? And as it turns out, I was a bit more qualified then some might have thought. Given the types of stories I often covered, I figured I might one day need to protect myself. That day never came until I put myself into the fray and made it come, but I figured it was always best to be prepared, just in case. So, I got myself a gun, and learned how to use it; I never became a master, but by now, I've learned how to hold my own. All that was left then was to make myself a makeshift costume by dying some of my clothes, getting myself a spiffy codename – the Phantom Reporter had a nice ring to it – and I was set; set to do what the cops couldn't.

That was two years ago. Since then, I've had some decent success; my 'antics', as reporters other than myself sometimes call them, have on occasion exposed the truth, and forced the police to take action when otherwise, they might just sit on their keisters and never get anything done. At the least, it certainly helped make the streets a bit safer. Of course, I'm not exactly the only Superhero here in ol' New York, but not everyone can be everywhere at once, so I think I still do my part. ...If only that didn't include being nearly torn apart by bullets. I tracked these punks after a successful robbery the other day to their current place of residence. And now, I'm getting shot at. Yeah, sure, it's happened before, but never like this. ...Well, hell. If I'm going to go out, I'm at least going to go out swin--'

 

[At just that moment, a large, 6'ft piece of the wall is smashed right through, taking the crooks – and the Phantom Reporter -- completely by surprise. Standing with his arm reaching out through where the piece of wall was, with his strong fist clenched, his legs spread apart, his head titled towards the floor, this man doesn't exactly seem... normal. This was especially evident in his attire; consisting of black spandex that reached from the neck to the wrists and the waist, yellow spandex that covered the legs, black veldt shoes that had red lines upon the ankles, a large red belt around his chest, a cape&cowl the same color as his leggings worn atop his head, and a small hourglass hung by a string around his neck. And lifting up his head so that he could look at the crooks straight in the eyes, he sported a grin that would make any sane – or perhaps smart – person run away pissing themselves. And yet, these guys may not be all that bright.They are frightened for a moment, to be sure, but they soon start firing once again, this time at the newcomer. And nearly as soon as they do so, the man being shot at merely staggers back a mere inch while coming out with nary a scratch on him, aside from his now somewhat tattered attire. And his grin just further widens. He then roars like a madman, and comes straight after his attackers like a speeding bullet. They keep shooting, but none of the bullets ever so much as stratch the man's skin. In just a few seconds, the man is exactly where he wants to be, and he trashes the thugs, leaving them alive, but with injuries that will likely keep them in the hospital for weeks, if not more.]

 

Phantom Reporter [Still thinking] That was either the man of the hour, or someone who's had far too many drinks. Maybe I should just stay away from him for now... and yet... [Slowly rises up from his spot behind the defunct conveyor belt, and speaks to his new 'friend.'] ...Uh, ahem... hello? Sir?

 

Man in Yellow Garb: Huh? [Turns around to face whoever's trying to get his attention. Upon seeing who it is, he smiles while pointing a finger at his new 'friend.'] 'Nother Superhero, huh? Or is it 'Mysteryman?' Doesn't make much of a difference to me!

 

Phantom Reporter: Uh, 'Mysteryman', in my case. ...Come to think of it, now that I've got a better look at you, I think I've heard of you...

 

Man in Yellow Garb: You got that right! It's the one and only man of power, the man of the hour, yours truly... HOURMAN!

 

Phantom Reporter: [Not impressed.] Charmed. ...So, how did you find about--

 

Hourman: Oh, that. You want me to be honest--

 

Phantom Reporter: And I do...

 

Hourman: Yeah, well, either way, I was just walkin' past here on my nightly patrol when, all of a sudden, I hear some fuckin' gunshots, of all things! Gunshots! Can you believe it?! Well, I wasn't gonna' have any of that, so I just did what I do and busted in here, and took care of everyone and everything that was shootin' those damned bullets! Pretty good job, if I do say so myself...

 

Phantom Reporter: [Thinking] '...Either this man is, at the least, the slightest bit intoxicated, or there's something else going on here .Given that he's a full-blown Superhero, and not just a Mysteryman like me, I figure that it's the latter. I take a look his waist; there seems to be some sort of black pouch attached to his belt, which happens to be just as black; you couldn't easily make out the pouch if you weren't looking hard enough.' [Speaks] Say, Hourman, buddy...!

 

Hourman: Yeah?

 

Phantom Reporter: Nothing. I just want to say you've got a real keen costume on yourself. It just... it all just seems to go so well together.

 

Hourman: [Scratching the back of his head while smiling some more] Uh, well, I don't like to brag...

 

Phantom Reporter: Say, what's that you've got there?

 

Hourman: What's what?

 

Phantom Reporter: You know, that pouch you've got there on your belt. I can't really tell what's in it...

 

Hourman: Uh... what pouch?

 

Phantom Reporter: [Points to the pouch] That pouch. What, are you saying you really can't make out your own pouch?

 

Hourman: Well... no, it just... just took me a bit to see it, is all.

 

Phantom Reporter: Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. So, you mind telling me what's in it?

 

Hourman: ...Ex-cuse me?

 

Phantom Reporter: Hey, ease up there, pal; no need to get defensive. It's just a simple question.

 

Hourman: ...Why?

 

Phantom Reporter: 'Why' what?

 

Hourman: Why do you wanna' know what's in the pouch?

 

Reporter: Just curious. Tell me, have you been out drinking tonight? Had a few sips, a couple of shots?

 

Hourman: Uh, no, not really--

 

Reporter: Okay... So why are you acting like you have?

 

Hourman: …Where are you goin' with this?

 

Reporter: I just want to make sure that our 'Heroes' are balancing out that great power with equally great responsibility.

 

Hourman: You're saying I'm not?

 

Phantom Reporter: Oh, I'm not questioning your ability to knock out criminals here; you demonstrated that perfectly well.

 

Hourman: So?

 

Phantom Reporter: So, I'm saying that there's a bit more to being a 'hero' then just beating up the bad guys. And I'm not sure if you really know what means.

 

Hourman: ...What are you--

 

Phantom Reporter: The pouch. Open it. Please.

 

Hourman: Hey, buddy--

 

Phantom Reporter: Please, sir; open the pouch.

 

Hourman. ...I could knock your lights out if I wanted to--

 

Phantom Reporter: Then why haven't you? Look, I know you're not really that bad, or at least I hope not, but I just can't help adding up the facts. You have all the signs of intoxication, but I'm not smelling a whiff of brandy off of you, and for someone without any powers, I've been known to have a very keen sense of smell. But as for the pouch, I've gotten a good look at the string that's supposed to keep it closed. It's not fully tied; almost as if you grabbed something real quick out of there, and didn't bother to close it again. Either that, or maybe, you expected to be reaching in there again real soon.

 

Hourman: …

 

Phantom Reporter: The pouch. Please.

 

Hourman: ...Look, it's not what it-- Hey! You hear that!

 

Phantom Reporter: ...Yeah. Yeah, I do, and it hurts like hell. Someone called... the Eternal Brain?

 

Hourman: Yeah. Says that he and some pals are just about over at the docks, and we should head over to meet 'em ASAP. And somehow... I believe 'em.

 

Phantom Reporter : Me too. I've got my doubts, but... if anything, it'll give us time for both of us to just sort this whole thing out.

 

Hourman: ...Look, I'll tell you about all this as soon as--

 

Phantom Reporter: Save it. We'll talk about this again after... after whatever's coming up is dealt with. Until then, let's just try to forget about this, okay?

 

Hourman: ...I'll get the money and return it on our way over.

 

Phantom Reporter: Yeah sure. That's one good thing that's come out of tonight...

 

[And so, with The Phantom Reporter finding the money, and Hourman setting off to quickly deliver it back to the bank, the two eventually make their way to the bay...

 

                                                                                                              Scene 2

 

[Our scene opens at the edge of New York City, with the ocean in clear sight. Flash, Black Widow, and Dr.Midnight are already there,apparently having only recently arrived. Dymanic man then arrives as well; by this point ,he's slowed down a tad, so Human Torch isn't too far behind in his arrival. And Captain America, Green Lantern, Colonel Ross, and the Eternal Brain are coming in as well, with GL flying in the air and towing the others behind him via a large transparent ball of green energy emitting from his green ring. And finally, Hourman, carrying the Phantom Reporter, is running straight towards the scene like a locomotive.

 

Green Lantern: Is that everyone accounted for?

 

Eternal Brain: Nearly everyone for now, Lantern, though there will be many more to come in the future, I assure you. However, there are still two more of our immediate brethren who should be arriving any moment. And one of them--

 

[At just that moment, a mighty being emerges out of the deep in a large splash of water that the Flash manages to repel with a fierce whirlwind from his arms. It lands fast and hard on the pavement, battered from head to toe, with various burns and bruises scattered about it's body. He is tall, lean, is clad only in green swimtrunks, and has a little wing on each of his feet.]

 

Torch: YOU! Stay back, everyone! It's--!

 

[Before the Torch can say another word, the newcomer, recognizing the voice that has just spoken, makes a flight-assisted lunge straight for the voice of the speaker, shouting with his very breath as he cries out--]

 

Namor: IMPERIUS REX!

Chapter Text

                                                                                         Scene 1

[Our scene continues right off of where the previous one left off, with Captain America, The Eternal Brain, Green Lantern, Colonel Ross, Flash, Dr.Midnight, Black Widow, The Human Torch, Dynamic Man, The Phantom Reporter, and Hourman all gathering at the New York docks, where Namor, The Sub Mariner, has just emerged. And he's lunging at the Human Torch's throat, with his mighty cry of--]]

 

Namor: IMPERIUS REX!

 

Torch: EVERYONE, MOVE!!

 

[Before anyone else can say or do much of anything, Jay steps into action, whirring up another couple of mighty cyclonic gusts from his arms, and knocking the airborn Namor  straight into a lampost, and thus putting him out– but only briefly. Just long enough to hold a short conversation...]

 

Flash: Sorry, but I needed to do somethin'...

 

Dynamic Man: Hey, you ask me, the little runt had it comin' to him!

 

Human Torch: Dynamic Man!

 

Dynamic Man: Hey, what'd I say?!

 

Human Torch: ...Okay, everyone look. If you've you all read the papers a year or two back, you'll know that Namor here isn't some pushover. I'll give the whole story when we have time, but he's pretty ticked at everyone who belongs to the human race or even looks like them, and--

 

Captain America: Fella looks human enough to me. Sides, I don't think you should be talking about people not being human despite their looks--

 

Human Torch: You wanna' get preachy? Then feel free, but after--

 

Namor: NYRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

 

Dynamic Man: Back for more? Suits me just--

 

Eternal Brain: [Currently held by Green Lantern] NO! Allow me...

 

[As Namor begins to dart towards the others like a train that's rampaging off it's tracks, he suddenly starts to flail and falter; his movements start to become slower and more sluggish, and his eyelids start to droop. Ultimately, he's about to fall into the lake, until GL catches him in a large green catcher's mitt, instantly appearing right below Namor.]

 

GL: Didn't want him swimming away before we got some answers.

 

Phantom Reporter: I'd have to agree. Did you see his body? All of those cuts, bruises and burns. And you wouldn't think that someone who lives in the ocean would get burns.Regardless of what he's done in the past, something's going on here. And I think I know who can tell us just what that 'something' is. ...'Eternal Brain'; that's your name, correct?

 

Eternal Brain: Indubitably! Allow me just a moment to peer through his thoughts...

 

Flash: And while you're doin' that, could someone be kind enough to fill in me on this 'Namor' fellow here? I live in the Twin Cities, not New York--

 

Hourman: You serious? You mean you live in chilly-central? Yeesh! I wouldn't want to be you, man!

 

Phantom Reporter: ...Right, we're definitely having a talk after this is over.

 

Dr.Midnight: About what, if I may ask?

 

Phantom Reporter: ...I know you. Doctor Midnight, right?

 

Dr.Midnight: And you're the Phantom Reporter. I've heard some pretty good things about you. Busted two druglords and a crimelord in your last year alone.

 

Phantom Reporter: Hey, I'm nothing compared to you; from what I hear, you took down 3 druglords and a crimelord in your first year! It took me a bit longer to get to where I am now. ...So, are you really a doctor?

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Of a sort, yes. For reasons that I'd prefer not to go into, I no longer professionally operate, but so long as I'm wearing these, [He points to the goggles covering his eyes,] I'm just as good as I ever was.

 

Phantom Reporter: Then maybe you can help me out here. I've got this guy here who--

 

Hourman: HEY! ...Weren't we gonna talk 'bout the fish-man?

 

Captain America: The man has a point. Well, Torch? You seem to have the most experience with him out of the rest of us...

 

Torch: Well, to be honest, I don't know that much else, at least prior to when he decided to wreak holy havoc on New York. I actually used to work at the NYPD – trying to get out more to really get to know New York, it's spirit, it's people -- and one of my fellow officers – Betty Dean, though we never really spoke aside from that one time – seemed to be on good terms with the little would-be invader. Seems that he comes from a race of people that live down on the ocean floor, in the Pacific. For a long time, they just kept to themselves, but a research team was testing some sort of new explosive or chemical or... something in the ocean, and it ended up bombing Namor's home, his kingdom. So, I guess he just had enough, but... from what Dean tells me, that was all before he was born. I guess he must feel so strongly about his people that he decided that something just needed to be done, but... well, if there's any more to it, we're not going to get it now. Anyway, Namor was also something of a pint-sized hellcarrier, packing enough firepower in terms of brute strength to take down an entire battleship, so long as he knows what he's doing; he's not the type that can just pick one up and smash it, but he can still tear his way through 'em just swell. So, with all that power, I guess he decided he was strong enough take on the entire world. And that's where I come in. See, back in 41, Namor made his biggest attack yet, though I don't know if I can really blame him. Apparently, he actually tried to make peace with the 'surface dwellers', as he calls us, but one way or another, he ended up feeling betrayed, and that just caused him to lash out even worse then before. It got so bad, I ended up having to deal with him personally. Now, much as I've got my own bones to pick with the guy, he wasn't as bad everyone said he was. The Bugle went and said he dumped a friggin' tidal wave on top of the city, or least a part of it, but anyone who actually lived here then knows better.

 

Phantom Reporter: You got one thing right; I was there in the street that day too, trying to help protect people from falling debris, rampaging zoo animals, you name it. But there was never a tidal wave. I actually work at the Bugle, and as far as I can tell, someone must have made the whole thing up, and managed to get it sent in right past me. No clue how that happened.

 

Torch: Right. So, no tidal wave, but that's not to say there wasn't any damage done; the fella' nearly brought down the Washington bridge, for cryin' out loud!

 

Hourman: I was there for that! Got over there soon as I heard; managed to keep the whole thing from fallin' straight over 'till the big boys came over to really fix it up...

 

Phantom Reporter: And how long did that take, I wonder? Even if they got over there in, say, 20 minutes, it'd take them a lot longer to get the bridge in a place where you no longer have to be responsible for keeping it up. I'd imagine that would take a lot more than, say, an hour?

 

[Hourman is silent as the grave.]

 

Human Torch: Um, anyway... So, to make a long story short, there was damage, there were... casualties, I hate to say, but none caused by Namor's own hands--

 

Captain America: Doesn't matter if it wasn't his own hands that did it; if he's responsible, he's responsible. ...Still, I can see where he's coming from. He's angry – no, furious – at what he surely sees as crimes committed against his people. If might not have been intentional, but it's our hands – our world's hands – that are responsible all the same. And Namor might not even know whether it was intentional or not, though I don't know if he cares. Point is, in his mind, he has just cause to wage an all out war, and to him, that's what he was doing when he attacked New York. I'm not condoning his actions, but I don't think he's the only guilty party. Both Namor and the 'surface-world', as he calls it; we're all responsible, in a way.

 

Dynamic Man: So?

 

Captain America: 'So'?

 

Dynamic Man: Yeah, 'so'. He still attacked a populated city, and he caused people's deaths, even if he didn't do it directly; even if he had just cause. That still makes him a supervillain in my book, and we beat the everloving crap out of Supervillains. It's practically in our job descriptions. Am I right, or am I right?

 

Torch: Well...

 

Eternal Brain: Eureka! I think I've discovered the reason for our friend's rather dire state of being. Of course, as his brain is not fully human, and is not designed to be an near-exact replica like Human Torch and Dyna--

 

Dr.Midnight: Wait; you said 'not fully human.' Does this mean Namor's brain is partially--

 

Eternal Brain: It would seem so. If my findings are correct, Namor is no mere Atlantian – what his race is called. Instead, he is both worlds; part Atlantian, and part human. Judging by his memories here, it would seem that most Alantians are of blue skin and--

 

Widow: STOP!

 

Eternal Brain: Hm?

 

Widow: Don't... do not poke and prod inside his brain any more then you must. I...--

 

Eternal Brain: ...Interesting. Your brain seems to be actively shielding even your surface thoughts from mine own. The only reason I could think that would be is... Oh, my lord; my dear child, someone has tampered with your own memories, haven't they?

 

Widow: I... I--!

 

Dr.Midnight: [Moves closer to the Widow.] I think the lady has a point, brainy. You may have gathered us all together, but I think you can afford to lay off a bit when it comes to digging into people's minds. Just get what you need to get, and then get the hell out of there.

 

Eternal Brain: Fine, fine, if that is what you wish. Truth be told, there was quite the treasure-trove of truly interesting memories and thoughts contained within this man's mind, but... not not everything in there was... pleasant. I could feel it, or a small portion of it anyhow. The sheer pain and agony of a prince who can do nothing more but watch his one and only father die before him. There was... there were submarines. Large, powerful submarines, each loaded with enough bombs to demolish a few small towns. And true to their capabilities, they demolished an entire underwater city. They all possessed swastikas open their hulls...

 

[Everyone's eyes either widen in shock or narrow with concern at this revelation, but one being-- Dynamic Man – simply floats just above the ground with one arm laying upon the another, and with squinted eyes, watches...]

 

Eternal Brain: Our prince was able to destroy a few such submarines, but the onslaught was too great. He had no choice but to lead his mother and whatever other survivors he could manage to find to safety. They eventually managed to elude the submarine, but it stands, only 3000 Atlantians out of 300,000 managed to survived, or at least far as Namor knows, and are currently waiting a distance from the docks. He suspects that some Atlantians may have been kidnapped by the enemy, for purposes he knows not. But-- hm? Oh, Excello, hello! Eh? What are you-- well, I certainly don't sense any-- immune to telepathic senses? Then how do you-- ah, yes, your own special sense s, and all that. ...Well, when is he going to get here? ... Now?!

 

[Right at that moment, another being leaps out of the war and makes yet another splash, even bigger then the first one; it rushes over the docks, but is quickly repelled by another whirlwind from Flash. It lands even faster and even harder than Namor, likely because it is so much larger than Namor. It is 14'ft tall, and seems to have the sheer muscle of a bear. He's dressed in green,scaly spandex and gloves, and red boots with angular tops, like long sharp fins. There is a large red 'U' on his chest, with the top tips of the 'U' looking like arrow tips. The arms and sides of his chest are completely exposed, and on his head is a red mask that looks somewhat like his boots in ascetic design, though his jaw, mouth and eyes are exposed, and there are green spandex-fins jutting from beneath the mask on either side of his head. But perhaps the most striking thing of all about this man is his blue skin and gills, as well as a red circle upon his green belt. And on the circle is none other then a black swastika.

 

Green Lantern: Blue skin; must be from the same race as Namor...!

 

Flash: Thinks he's here for Namor?

 

Phantom Reporter: Maybe, but maybe not as a friend. Look at the belt...

 

Captain America: Everyone, about face! I'm not sure just what this guy's deal is, but even if he's one of Namor's, if he's a Godforsaken Nazi, well, coming out of the water like he did, well I just have a hunch Namor's people might be in some trouble. Regardless of what Namor himself has done in the past, they're innocent in all of this, as far as we know. Brain, can you--?

 

Eternal Brain: I am afraid not. Not only is he a full Atlantian, which would make my talents harder to perform, albeit not impossible, he even seems to have a sort of artificial resistance. How, I do not know, but--

 

[The Atlantian suddenly smiles like he's about to tear into soft, smooth flesh, and readies himself as if he's about make a mighty charge.]

 

Captain America: He's gonna' try and rush us! On my move, everyone; 1, 2--

 

Dynamic Man: Oh, to hell with this! [He then bullets straight at the Atlantian, hurling him behind himself through a brick wall of a dock building.]

 

Phantom Reporter: And I thought the man of the hour had problems...

 

Captain America: Soldier! You'd better hope to God that that building was vacant, or--

 

Dynamic Man: Or what? I beat the bad guy, and saved the day! Isn't that what we heroes do?

 

Captain America: ...We'll save this for when we're not dealing with a possible Atlantian turncoat&a nazi. Now--

 

[Just then, the Atlantian gets up; there is a dockworker running terrified out of the building, though he doesn't appear to be harmed. The Atlantian is smiling once again...]

 

Captain America: He's liking this. Okay; Flash – that is your name, right? Flash, take the Brain someplace safe, then get back here on the double. GL, use your ring to throw Namor into the water; hopefully, that'll revitalize him. Afterwards, you and anyone else who can either protect yourselves or breath underwater, get down there and see if Namor's people are okay. Something tells me we might have more then just this big fella' on our hands. Torch, try and surround him with a wring of fire; maybe that'll dry him up. Everyone else, just hit hit this guy hard and fast. Invaders for Justice, ASSEMBLE! (...I might have to work on that...)

 

[Seeing as the others either have no better ideas, or have otherwise thought on the same lines as the Captain, they agree. A green human-sized goldfish-holder quickly scoops up Namor and tosses him back into the water; GL then fashions himself a green scubasuit and follows in after him, with Widow, being undead, and sensing evil below the waves, following close behind. Dynaman, despite likely being able to breath underwater and not being on fire like the Torch, gets ready to rush the Atlantian with a devilish smile on his face. Everyone else gets prepared to follow suit – even Colonel Ross, who readies his trusty pistol – as the Atlantian carefully lumbers ever closer...]

 

Atlantian: It was Namor that I truly desired, but since it seems that you all are so eager to perish, I will gladly give you all your wish!

Chapter Text

                                                                         Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens below the waves, just as Namor is tossed headlong into the deep, with Green Lantern in his green scuba-gear, along with the undead Black Widow, following close behind. Just as GL and the Widow reach Namor, he beings to resume consciousness...

 

Namor: By Neptune, what--!

 

Widow: I sense it.

 

Namor: [Whirls to face the Widow.] What--?!

 

Widow: I can sense the evil; smell the stench of fresh blood, hear the wretched cries of pain and suffering--!

 

GL: Lady, we're in the middle of--!

 

Widow: That way. [She points towards a certain direction, and begins swimming along. Namor takes a brief moment to consider the direction she's pointing in, and--]

 

Namor: [Talking to GL] I do not know who this woman is, or who you are, or what exactly she is babbling on about, or a great many other things--! ...But I do know that she was pointing in the direction of my people. If what she says contains the slightest grain of truth—!

 

GL: Believe me or not, but we're both just here to help. In any case, the lady seems to know where she's going, which, according to you, happens to be where 'your people', as you call them, are hanging out. Shall we--?

 

Namor: Fine! ...If we do not hurry now, we shall lose her. Come! [Namor then hurries off into the deep of the ocean after the Black Widow. Green Lantern, rolling his eyes and shrugging his soldiers, follows close behind.]

 

Scene 2

 

Captain America: TORCH!

 

Torch: On it, Cap!

 

[The Human Torch then flies fast as he can, right around the feet of the lumbering blue-skinned colossus of an Atlantian, leaving a trail of fire as he does so. The Atlantian tries to pound the flaming man, but the Torch is just quick enough that the Atlantian can't quite hit him. The circle of fire now made, the Torch then merely raises an arm as he flies away from the gargantuan, and the ring of fire surrounds the Atlantian completly At first, the Atlantian seems a bit uneasy, even a tad frightened and sweating, as he's confronted by the searing blaze.]

 

Cap: That seems to have done it. Now--

 

[However, the Atlantian's fear quickly fades away, and is replaced with a scowl the likes of which could scare the pants off of a lesser man. The fire, while affecting him, doesn't seem to do as great a job as Cap and the Torch thought it would, and he leaps straight through the fire at the Torch.]

 

Torch: Flaming hell--!

 

[The Torch, once again, manages to fly away just before the Atlantian can grasp him in his large, thick hands. The Torch then blasts him with an intense stream of fire, but while it's enough to keep him at bay, it isn't enough to down him.]

 

Cap: Alright, new plan--

 

Dynamic Man: Oh, to hell with this!

 

Hourman: Right with ya, partner!

 

Cap: What in--!

 

[Hourman then rushes towards the Atlantian, but before he can get there, Dynamic Man bursts toward the Atlantian like a lightning bolt, and just as it seems like he's about to knock him straight into the water, instead zips behind him, and hurls him towards the side, right before looking at Cap bemused.]

 

Dynamic Man: What, you thought I was just gonna' hurl him back into the water? I wasn't just gonna' send him back where he came!

 

Cap: ...Right. Everyone, hit him with all you've got!

                                                                                  Scene 3

 

[Meanwhile, Namor, GL, and the Widow seem to have finally arrived at their destination, and--]

 

Namor: ...What in the name of--!

 

GL: My God...

 

Widow: God cannot help us or them now...

 

[As the three look below them, they see a horde of Atlantains before them; they are alternatively being slaughtered in droves, or being herded into floating metallic pens by ten or so strange, black robotic creatures. They all have metallic arms&legs that look like those of a muscular human; for heads, they possess odd boxes that look like cameras, supported by a short rectangular beam that seems to serve as a neck. And on their large, broad chests are what seem be a sort of screen, with two letters – AZ – being tranmissioned in black and white. They have buzzsaws&chainsaws for hands, and some are firing lasers or blasts of energy from the 'lens' on their camera, decimating the Atlantians in their wake who can't help but try and swim away in vain.

As he watches the horror before him, GL can't help but think of an earlier time; a time where he was working aboard a train as an engineer. Of a train that was completely totaled; that crashed and burned, leaving him as the only survivor. Of how he later learned that it was all due to some crazy scheme from a sleazeball-racketeer. And of how, when he discovered that meteorite and carved his lantern&ring, he would never let such atrocities happen again. It doesn't matter that these Atlantians are not human, or that he has no clue who these robotic creatures are. All he knows now is that--]

 

GL: [Practically seething.] This has to end....Namor? Namor--!

 

[Namor has already swum off, screaming at the top of his lungs as he tries to tear the head off of one of the creatures. He does so, complete with a wrenching of metal, of screws and gears, but as the creature falls to it's knees, all of the others turn their attention to Namor.]

 

GL: The brazen--! [Briefly tilting his eyes upward, he quickly holds out his arm, his hand now clenched in a tight fist, and a green, spherical forcefield extends around Namor, protecting him from the sudden volley of blasts and lasers that emit from the 9 remaining robots. Furious and seething, Namor pounds at the force-field, demanding--]

 

Namor: Let me OUT! LET ME OUT!!

 

GL: Not until they've stopped firing at-- oh boy.

 

[By this point, the robots have realized who is protecting Namor, and so, they turn their attention to him. With Namor no longer in immediate danger, GL instantly drops the forcefield, and projects one around himself, as he braces himself for the force of the blasts.] Almost makes me wish I was in the army--!

 

[With the Atlantians now getting a chance to swim away from all of this chaos&insanity, Namor launches straight towards the robots, crying--!

 

Namor: IMPERIUS REEEEEEEEX!

 

[Namor unleashes righteous vengeance upon the bots, who seem too busy with GL to properly react to Namor in time, or the Black Widow, who swims right over the blasts aimed at GL, and aims herself at the robots; she isn't as strong as Namor, but she has sufficient strength to wrench off a robot's head with enough effort, and for two robots, this is what she does. Namor handles four, and while he's left with one cut on his left leg and another one on his right arm, he is too enraged to care. This leaves just three left, who now shift their attention back to Namor, as well as to the Black Widow.]

 

Green Lantern: Oh no you don't--!

 

[A large, sharp green saber is then formed, and it sweeps into two of the remaining three robot's necks, wiping them clean off. Namor then prepares to knock the last robot into oblivion, but--]

 

Widow: STOP!

 

Namor: You dare come before me and my vengeance, woman?!

 

Widow: I know far of more of vengeance then you could ever hope to learn, you pathetic man. I know also that we need this one intact, so that we can learn--

 

Namor: Learn what?That they have slaughtered my people, or worse, attempted to herd them into these... these pens?! And so many more of my people have been killed or captured by who I am sure are the masters of these monstrosities-- those who have attacked my city in those strange contraptions--!

 

[The robot is about fire again, but Green Lantern contains the robot within another green sphere, thus causing the blast to explode within the sphere. When the smoke clears, the robot is still intact, but damaged. It does not seem as if it will be harming anyone else anytime soon.]

 

Widow: Listen, Son of the Ocean! Prince – no, King now – of Atlantis! ...I can sense what some would define as  'evil'; vile, petty thoughts; thoughts of greed, lust, even murder. These were not simple automatons. There was a mind controlling them; a mind that is far fouler and more twisted then any other I have known, save my master.

 

Namor: Your master--?

 

Widow: My point is, if we wish to know anything about who is responsible for these creatures, then we cannot afford to smash them all into pieces because someone cannot control himself!

 

Namor: … [Raises his fist as if he's about to smash the Black Widow--]

 

GL: Namor!

 

Namor: [--Before smashing the sand below him instead.] ...You... and the man in green... As much as it pains me to say this... Thank you. I do not know if I could have survived these creature’s onslaughts and survived, if not thanks to you, the man with the green ring especially.

 

GL: [Swimming closer to Namor] We – I – just did what I could to help. I'd already seen so many people die pointlessly; I wasn't about to let it happen again.

 

Namor: I appreciate that. As I will surely appreciate your assistance in the days to come. While I posses no love for you surface dwellers, your assistance has made it clear to me now that not all of you are responsible for the atrocities that have befallen my people.

 

GL: Namor, we know who it was that decimated your people. Well, not exactly who controlled these robots, per say, but we're pretty sure of whoever this guy is working for--

 

Namor: What are you trying to say...?

 

GL: Tell me; have you ever heard of 'The Axis of Evil?'

 

                                                                              Scene 3

 

[Flash, after having safely left the brain with a rather confused policeman, has just rushed back to the fight, only to see the Atlantian smash Hourman through a small building. He's dazed, but not knocked out just yet.]

 

Hourman: Maaaaan... oooof the Hoouuuuuuuueeeeeeerr...

 

Flash: Ouch. Right, let's see what I can-- waitaminute--

 

[Colonel Ross, seeing no other options, gets right in front of the Atlantian, who lumbers slowly towards the Colonel, seeing him as nothing more then a--]

 

Atlantian: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGH!!!

 

[The Atlantian is now reeling over in pain, right after the Colonel aimed his pistol carefully, and shot the Atlantian straight in the right eye.]

 

Phantom Reporter: Now that's something you don't see everyday... [Following suit, the Reporter tries to shoot the Phantom in the other eye with his own pistol, but the Atlantian covers both of his eyes, not falling for the same mistake again, thus blocking the bullet.]

 

Captain America: Okay, team! The Reporter's given you all an opening! Again, hit him fast, and hit him hard!

 

[Hearing that as his cue, Dynamic Man smirks like a bastard, bullets over to the distraught Atlantian, and socks him with a haymaker right in the jaw, knocking him back into the street. The Torch then blasts him with searing flames. Hourman reaches into his bag, takes out what seems to be some sort of white tablet, and then leaps straight for the Atlantian, sending him straight into a lamppost. Both the Phantom Reporter and Dr.Midnight take careful note of this action...]

 

Captain America: [Running towards the others in the lead, and motioning everyone else to come along] Remember, try to avoid collateral damage, and keep the civilians out of it!

 

Dynamic Man: Yeah, yeah, geez—huh?!

 

[By this point, the Atlantian has managed to control himself, and taking note of Dynamic Man's brief moment of grumbling&misattention, smacks him into a nearby car. Meanwhile, every civilian in the area is screaming or yelling as they try to get away.]

 

Captain: Flash, can you--?

 

Flash: Already on it. [He then darts off in a flash, doing his best to speed any straggling civilians to safety. Meanwhile, Hourman tries to hit the Atlantian again, but the same Atlantian knocks him into a nearby fire hydrant, which has the added benefit of spraying the Atlantian with refreshing, rejuvenating water, so much so that he practically basks in it.]

 

Phantom Reporter: If I didn't know any better, I'd say he likes it...

 

???: IMPERIUS REX!

 

[The Atlantian then stops dead in his tracks.]

 

Atlantian: I know that voice--]

 

[The Submariner then comes divebombing straight up and behind from the Atlantian, who is promptly blasted right down the street. He quickly gets up, but his eyes widen when he sees just who hovers before him.]

 

Atlantian: SO! It seems that you have fully recovered, Prince Namor. Or should I call you 'King' now? Or perhaps 'Emperor' is more fitting to your ego?

 

Namor: ...That voice! But, it couldn't be--

 

Atlantian: Oh, come Namor! Don't tell me that you don't recognize your old friend Merrano...

 

Namor: You were never my friend! You were merely an old scientist who had delved more into the affairs and history of the surface world then anyone should ever have had the right to!

 

Merrano: And because that is what you and your father deemed, I was cast out! Merely for illuminating the truth--!

 

Namor: You illuminated nothing, save your insanity and delusions! You believed that Atlantians were heading on a course to becoming an inferior species! That we were well on our way to being wiped out, unless we agreed to your ludicrous theories of 'gene-enhancement' and 'controlled breeding'--

 

Merrano: All of which were designed to ensure the future of our race. Though of course... now, there isn't much of a future, is there?

 

Namor: ...You knew of the attacks?!

 

Merrano: How else do you think the Axis would have discovered my former home otherwise? Yes, I learned of them, and came to them. They – or specifically, the Nazi party – found my theories quite fascinating!

 

Phantom Reporter: But it wasn't just the Nazi's who took a liking to your research, was it?

 

Merrano: Hm?

 

[By this point, everyone else except for the still unconscious Dynamic Man, including the descending Green Lantern&Black Widow with robot in tow, have arrived, and have been listening in.]

 

Phantom Reporter: Maybe I'm just misinformed, but I didn't think that the Nazi's had the kind of tech to turn what I'm sure was just some ordinary Atlantian into a 14'ft galoot.

 

Merrano: …

 

Green Lantern: At the least, someone does. [His green sphere then dissipates, dropping the thrashed – but still barely operational – robot inside to the ground. It's limbs twitch, but do not do much more.]

 

Phantom Reporter: [Reads the letters on the robot's chest-screen.] 'A-Z'. Care to tell us what that stands for?

 

Merrano ...So. His creations have failed. But I will NOT! I WILL TEAR STRAIGHT INTO YOU NAMOR, AND FEED YOUR REMAINS TO THE SHARKS, AND WHEN I AM DONE WITH YOU, I SHALL--

 

Dynamic Man: Oh, shut up.

 

[Merrano hardly knows what hits him, as Dynamic Man, now conscious, and hearing the least few sentences that Merrano has uttered, hammers him like a bag full of bricks. Again. And again. And again. Again and again and again, until Namor finally pushes him out of the way--

 

Namor: STOP!

 

Dynamic Man: And why the hell should I?

 

Namor: [Smirks] The honor of the humiliation of a subject must belong to his ruler.

 

Dynamic Man: ...Oooohh, I get ya! Yeah, sure; have at it.

 

Namor: [Cracks knuckles.] With pleasure. [The staggering Merrano, still reeling at Dynamic Man's blows, is now confronted by the seemingly endless barrage of Namor's slower, yet still weighty fists. It isn't long before Merrano collapses to the ground, back first, in a hulking heap.] It is finished. And yet, it is not. My kingdom is all but gone. Much of my people are still slaughtered. And father... oh, father...

 

Hourman: Hey, lighten up buddy! It can't be all that bad!

 

Flash: His father and most of his entire people were slaughtered before his very eyes. Give the man some time to grieve. Hey, buddy; I know we don't really know each other that well, but... if there's anything I can do--

 

Namor: Can you bring back my kingdom? My people? My father? Unless you can do that, then I'm not sure if there is anything you can truly do. ...You all have helped me. Helped my people. I do not know about other surface dwellers, but you all have gained my respect this day. You are far more worthy of it then this traitor I now see lying before my feet...!

 

Captain America: Namor... There is one thing we can do. And one thing that you can do for us.

 

Namor: ...I hope that you are not expecting a favor, for if you are--!

 

Captain America: Nothing of the sort! Not for today's action, anway. ...Look, I know you've suffered a great tragedy today. The Axis--

 

Namor: Yes, the Axis. Your friend with the green ring has told me much about them.

 

Captain America: Yes, the Axis; they've caused so much pain, suffering, and tragedy the world over, and it's still going on today. And so long as they're out there, your people will never be safe. But, if you join with us--

 

Namor: You suggest an alliance? If this is so, you shall find my people sorely lacking in their capacity to engage in war--

 

Captain America: No, no; nothing of the sort. They're in bad enough shape as is. But somehow, much as I otherwise respect my government, I don't expect them to treat your people as full citizens, or all that kindley if they attempted to look after you. So my thoughts – you listening to this, Colonel? My thoughts are to relocate your people to a place where they can rebuild their land, their kingdom, and if they're ever in any danger, at least during this war, we'll do what we can to help 'em out. In exchange--

 

Namor: In exchange, you would expect my help personally.

 

Captain America: Of course, but it only benefits all of us here. We get support from one of the strongest – and fiercest – person I've ever known, and not only do your people get protection, but you get an entire squadron of powerful&capable people on your side, to take out the forces that wiped out your home. Sound like a win-win to me.

 

Namor: ...I do not have much choice in the matter, do I? No; much as I loathe to admit it, there is no better alternative. Very well. If your... 'government' is willing--

 

Colonel Ross: And as much as I loathe to say it, I think we will be, after a bit of... negotiating...

 

Namor: Then, for the moment, I shall be willing to accept this proposal.

 

Cap: Great to hear. [Holds out his hand, expecting Namor to give it a friendly shake. Namor simply looks at him with disapproval.]

 

Namor: ...As your people say, 'do not push it.'

 

Torch: I have to say Cap, I'm not really all that thrilled with--

 

???: My dear android, please refrain from saying anything that could result in our newly forged relations with the Atlantian people from becoming the slightest strained, hm?

 

Torch&Cap: What--?

 

[Coming out from a nearby corner is a middle-aged man dressed in a spiffy black tuxedo and a turquoise trenchcoat. His hair is brown and combed back, and the lower sides are pure white. His eyebrows are black, bushy, and arch upwards at a high angle before slanting back down. His eyes are stern, his lips pursed, almost as if he's constantly tense. He is holding the Eternal Brain in both of his hands.]

 

Eternal Brain: Ah! All here again, are we?

 

Flash: Brain? But, I thought I dropped you off at--

 

Uptight Man: You did. I took the liberty of collecting him.

 

Eternal Brain: Now, you may all be wondering who this rather... eccentric fellow happens to be. He is--

 

Uptight Man: Allow me. Yes, it is I; the very same one who foretold that all of us here were destined to arrive, and so we did; although I do admit, I was a tad late...

 

 

GL: So you're--

 

Uptight: Yes, that is me; Mastermind Excello, as I am called, at your service. Though I do admit, I thought that there might be a few others arriving here before this evening turned to night. I suppose I was just a tad off...

 

GL: So, do you actually 'see' what's going to happen, or--

 

Excello: No, no; not exactly. I can see visions of events that have yet to come, but I never know how we are to get there. Or, alternatively, I can know who is supposed to be where at a certain time, but I don't always know what is to occur. It varies depending on... well, just about any myriad of factors, really.

 

Phantom Reporter: [Looking at Merranno] You know... I'd think that if I'd sent in a hulking colossus of an Atlantian, I'd want to know just what happened to him...

 

Captain America: You're right. There' no guarantee, but just in case, we'd better stow this lug away somewhere safe, and then figure out where to go from here.

 

Exello: Yes, well, given the current situation, I'd like to suggest something for all of us; something that could very determine our entire course of action from this night out...

 

[Everyone looks at Excello –well, except for Dynamic Man, who is busy laying back against some corner – with abated breath, as if one single word from him could change their entire destiny's from this night forew--]

 

Excello: Tea?

Chapter Text

                                                                              Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens in a long, wide room within a rather large, spiffy mansion, with everyone from the previous scene, except for Merrano, sitting down at a large long-table, and having tea. Well, most everyone; Dynamic Man is holding the cup and putting a finger to his lip as if he's not really sure what to make of it. Torch – now no longer wreathed in flames, instead wearing full red-orange spandex and possessing bright red-orange hair – looks long into the cup, as if he's not sure whether or not he should drink it. And Widow merely sits in her chair, not even bothering to so much as glance at her cup. Excello is at the head of the table, sipping down his tea as if he had only had a minute to wolf it down. Colonel Ross is sitting on the right seat closest to Excello, with Captain America sitting on the closest left seat. Namor is at the far end of the table, opposite to Excello, and the Eternal Brain&his jar have been placed upon the table's surface, next to Colonel Ross. The night-sky can be seen clearly through large windows at either the left or right sides of the room, and there is a grandfather clock, a potted plant, and a bust of Beethoven situated at various spots within the room. The clock lists the time as 10:00 PM precisely.]

 

Excello: ...So, while it is rather nice to be relaxing with some fine tea in my humble abode, I suppose we should be getting down to business...

 

Captain America: Yes. We managed to take out likely the strongest foe any of us have ever faced yet, and saved some lives as well, but--

 

Namor: Yes, 'some', but far from all. My people--!

 

GL: Namor, calm down...

 

Namor: ...Yes, yes. You are right, much as I hate to admit...

 

Cap: Namor, believe me, I'm sorry for your loss, we all are--

 

[Dynamic Man casts a brief glare at Cap at that statement, before looking away.]

 

Cap:...But, we need to keep moving on. Just keeping our minds on the past won't get us anywhere. Now, as I was saying, we did some good work today, and for our first outing, I'd say it was a relative success. But there's still a few loose ends we have to deal with, and I've got a feeling that our new friend can help us answer them--

 

Namor: Merrano.

 

Phantom Reporter: I'd have to agree. Seem to me that the fishman – not you, Namor, sorry- seems to me he knows more then he's letting on. I've also taken a look at the bot that GL brought in. 'A-Z'; interesting letter combination. I've spoken to Black Widow too, and it seems that she could 'sense' some sort of sole mind coming from the bots. Seeing as both the submarines and the robots both went after the Atlantians, I think it's safe to say they're part of the same force...

 

GL: The Axis. And in this case, the Nazi's more-so.

 

Cap: Right, which is why it's essential that we interrogate him as soon as he wakes up. GL, do you still--

 

GL: I still got it, Captain. As soon I carried Merrano over here and trapped him in a forcefield, I've kept the image in the back of my mind. It's just a bit of a strain, but I think I can manage for a while longer.

 

Cap: Glad to hear, soldier. There's also the matter of Namor's missing people, as they weren't all accounted for according to him, but I think if we can find whoever was responsible for those robot's, we'll find them. ...And now that we've got all that out of the way, there's something else – something kind of important – that I feel we should talk about.

 

Dr.Midnight: Which is?

 

Captain America: This team. Well, it's a team for now, but Brain thinks it can be something more given time. But now, it's small enough to still just be a team, so let's focus on that for the time being. I know that most of you were jutted out of your own personal lives, called in by the Brain over here. You've all done good work today, but I also want to know what all of you think of... of all this.

 

Hourman: What, the furniture? I mean, it's classy, sure, but it ain't really my--

 

Dr.Midnight: The team, Hourman, the team.

 

Hourman: Oh, the team! Yeah, well, I think it's... it's... it's a good idea, yeah, sure; let's go with that.

 

[Both Dr.Midnight and Pthe hantom Reporter again take a good look at Hourman, before looking back towards the Captain.]

 

Dr.Midnight: Captain... If I had a choice in the matter, I'd probably just prefer to stay back in Chicago; just writing my exposes and taking down average crooks. But I don't really have much of a choice here, do I? Most of us don't. Let's face it; this team, and any others out there – it's really just one big Superhero draft. Isn't that right, Colonel?

 

Colonel Ross: ...I suppose it could be thought of that way--

 

Dr.Midnight: Thought so. Honestly, I'm happy to do my part for my country, but let's not make things worse here by pretending we have any real choice in the matter.

 

Phantom Reporter: I'd have to agree with the Doc here. While I wouldn't say it quite as heavy handed as him, I think he's still got a point. And hey, I don't have any Superpowers; if it wasn't for putting on this mask and having some success on the streets, I'd probably just be crawling in the trenches as we speak.

 

Captain America: I... didn't want to think of it in that way, honestly, but... I suppose you two have a way of saying the honest truth, so I suppose I should be honest myself. No; aside from Namor, who isn't a citizen of this country, none of you have a real choice. But would we have, either way? This war's been spreading across the whole world; it was only a matter of time before we all got dragged into it. And since you're all part of this now, I think you're all entitled to know that I've been there. I've been behind enemy lines, doing reconnaissance, odd jobs, you name it, and I'm telling you all right now, this isn't something that's just going to die out in a year's time; this is something that needs to be stopped, and I think that all of us, and so many more, working together, can help to do so much more than what we could have done alone. And so, even if we all had a choice, I'd hope that this is the choice you'd all still make.

 

GL: I've have to agree with you there, Cap. I've already seen far too much death here at home; the thought of acts being committed that are so... so much worse over there, it's– it's sickening. It's gotta' be stopped.

 

Dr.Midnight: And despite my previous... hangups, I guess you can call them, I've also got to agree. I'm – or at least I was – a doctor. I've always been trying find something of meaning to do with my life. Saving lives just seemed like the best possible route I could take towards that goal, and going overseas to help stop a war – well, what could be more meaningful?

 

Widow: I go merely where vengeance calls, and it would seem there is much need for vengeance across the seas indeed.

 

Human Torch: I'm still trying to figure all of this out, myself, but-- if you all are willing to do this, then I guess I am too.

 

Dynamic Man: Pssh! All these Axis are is guys that need their heads kicked in, so that's what I'm gonna' do! Doesn't get any more complicated then that.

 

Namor: And for my part, I have already agreed upon a bargain, one which this avenging son intends to respect. But yet, it pleases me to know that, while I still have misgivings against much of those who live above the Surface, there are those who seem to be of a notably higher caliber.

 

Cap: [Smiles] Glad to hear it. Well, now that we've got that out of the way, that still leaves one thread hanging; what do we do about Merrano?

 

Scene 2

 

[Our scene opens in what appears to be some sort of laboratory. Beakers, test tubes, strange machines, and all sorts of odd devices and apparatus are strung&scattered about the lab, but one particular item is of note. On a white table is what appears to be some sort of robot; upon closer inspection, it is none other then the same kind of robot that attempted to slaughter the remaining Atlantians, and there was still some blood split. There also appear to be a few giant cylinders filled with strange fluids and what may be a sort of embryo in each tube, but it is unclear just what these embryos will become. Admist the test tubes&beakers, a man in a white lab coat is hard at work, his frayed black hair and crazed brown eyes indicating that he has not had sleep in some time, but also perhaps that he is a tad... off. As he messes around with various chemicals and formulas, he swiftly tilts his head towards a machine with a small viewing screen, as it begins to incessantly beep, as it someone was on another line impatiently waiting for a call. The man pushes back his hair, and taps the button, bringing onto the screen a man; only his head can be seen, but he appears to be wearing a green hood with the painted image of a red dragon running straight over it; the eyes are not covered. He begins to speak, and does so in English, but with a rather thick Japanese accent. When the scientist speaks, he also does so in English, but with a thick Germanic accent.]

 

Man in Green Hood: I trust that things are coming along well, Zola-san?

 

Zola: Yes, yes, Herr... 'Dragon', is it? Vey are coming along quite well.

 

Dragon: They had better. Your Nazi superiors may think that your genius is all your own, and it is true that not many minds can fully comprehend what I have taught you, but without my teachings and my technology, you would not be where you are--

 

Zola: Yes, yes, I do not need to be reminded like I am a –

 

Dragon: Oh, I think that you do, lest you forget who is responsible for where you now stand. ...But enough of this. What is the status on Atlantis, the robots, and Merrano?

 

Zola: Uh, well...

 

Dragon: Come, come Zola. I merely wish to know what has become of our mutual endeavors. There is nothing to fear.

 

Zola: Well... most of the robot's signals seem to have gone... offline.

 

Dragon: ...Is that so?

 

Zola: Uh... yes. The attack on Atalntis was otherwise a complete success! Vey shall no longer be a threat to either my country, or your's, or to any other nations of the Axis! And the robots vat were sent out after the attack that remained at Atlantis were successfully able to capture all those who were fatally wounded, but not quite dead. They are safe – well, perhaps not safe from me, but vey are contained, and shall prove most valuable in matters both of research, and of genetic fodder--

 

Dragon: Yes, yes, I am sure. But you said that that most of the signals went offline?

 

Zola: Well, yes, at least in terms of those were sent to follow after the escapees. But... vere is still one signal among them. Do not worry; I intend to detonate it shortly, to prevent others from discovering our whereabouts--

 

Dragon: Good...

 

Zola: But... there is one other matter. That of Merrano--

 

Dragon: What about Merrano, exactly?

 

Zola: Well... the neural link that I implanted within him, that allows him to communicate with us more easily... It appears to have become... inactive...

 

Dragon: What?

 

Zola: Uh, well, it really has only become inactive partially; this would occur only if Merrano is asleep, or otherwise--

 

Dragon: Unconscious?

 

Zola: Uh, well, that is to say... Yes.

 

Dragon: ...It is possible – I do not know how likely this is, but possible – that he was beaten unconcious.

 

Merrano: Yes, that was my thought as well. And after he claimed to be able to defeat this 'Avenging Son' – this crown prince Namor, with both hands tied behind his back, so long as I gave him some 'improvements'--!

 

Dragon: Yes, well... I have my suspicions on just how such a defeat came about.

 

Zola: ...How so?

 

Dragon: Tell me, Zola-san; have you ever heard of the word 'Superhero?' Or 'Mysteryman', perhaps?

 

Zola: ...I have heard of the words, yes, and I know of what they represent. Men and women of great power and/or talent, who dress in bright, gaudy garments and prance about as they face down 'The Forces of Evil', or some such nonsense; yes, I know of those words.

 

Dragon: Good; that saves me from some unnecessarily complicated explanations. Now, here are my thoughts; it is possible that Namor may have rushed as fast as he could over to the American coast, either because he was being chased by Merrano, or perhaps to seek help; any sort of help he could. Either way, regardless of whether or not that is how he got there, it is possible that help found him.

 

Zola: Yes, well, luckily for us, Zola's neural link, unbeknownst to him, can be detonated with but a push of a button. I shall do so to both him and the robot shortly.

 

Dragon: Yes; we wouldn't want to give Merrano even so much as a chance to leak any information about us that he may possess, or for these 'heroes' to tear it out of him. I just hope that this will neatly tie up this matter without any further complications.

 

Zola: That is my wish as well, Herr Dragon.

 

Dragon: Yes. ...Well, let me know when you have accomplished this deed, and of any further news of note on your end.

 

Zola: As you wish, Herr Dragon.

 

[With another push of the button, the viewing screen is now blank, and silent...]

Chapter Text

                                                                          Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens in the dining room of Excello's mansion. Nearly everyone has left the room, with Dr.Midnight and the Phantom Reporter practically herding Hourman along, while Captain America, Green Lantern Mastermind Excello, The Eternal Brain, and Colonel Ross are heading down to the basement to check on Merrano. Dynamic Man, Black Widow, and the Flash are busy exploring the mansion and doing who-knows-what, leaving the Human Torch and Namor as the only ones still left in the room...]

 

Human Torch: ...So.

 

Namor: ...Yes; I suppose we had to hold this little... 'discussion' at some point, did we not?

 

Human Torch: Look, I, I just...

 

Namor: No need to be courteous; simply tell me what you wish to say, as bluntly as possible. It is as I always conduct myself...

 

Human Torch: Right, okay, okay. Look, I know that you... you are justified in some ways, sure; our people killed yours, it's understandable. But I'm not even sure they really knew. You...

 

Namor: Yes?

 

Human Torch: You know what? I'll just run down a list. [Holds out one hand, and starts counting down fingers with the other.] You thrashed Coney Island, totaled a zoo and let it's animals free, (predators included, I might add,) you nearly busted down the Washington Bridge, which was only held up by a guy who names himself after a measurement of time, you tore off the top of the Empire State Building and hurled it down to the crowded street below – it was a nightmare trying to burn it all into a state where it wouldn't hurt anyone – and, need I forget, you trapped me in an 'experimental tube.' It if wasn't for Ms.Dean finally appealing to your better nature – which I have trouble believing exists at times – I don't know if I'd be having this conversation.

 

Namor: [Smirks.] I do have to admit, seeing you struggling like a babe was amusing...

 

Torch: And that's exactly what I'm talking about. Look, the point is, regardless of your justification, you did a lot of damage, maybe even cost some lives for all we know! And now, here you are, gallivanting about like none of that ever happened!

 

Namor: ...Torch. I will not pretend like the actions I committed on that day will never cease to be. And perhaps I was wrong to do what I did; perhaps I did act too rashly. Just like Father said...

 

Torch: Your Father--?

 

Namor: BUT! The facts now are this; my people are currently an endangered species, and I also know that not all surface-dwellers belong to one world order. A specific faction of you humans was responsible, and they are where I must focus my aggression now. And you lot could sorely need my aid, if what I've seen so far is any indication.

 

Torch: But--!

 

Namor: But remember this, for I certainly won't. According to your 'Green Lantern' the Axis only formed relatively recently, which means that the earlier acts against my people were not committed by them. While I can respect, and maybe, in time, even trust certain individuals amongst your species, I can not trust your people as a whole, especially now that I am the sole ruler of my kindgom; especially now that... that my father is dead. And my mother...

 

Torch: What about your mother?

 

Namor: She... she is gone. The only place I could think her to be now is... is where the rest of my captive people have been taken, wherever that may be.

 

Torch: I... I didn't know--

 

Namor: No, you did not. ...So, as you can see, I have much riding on my soldiers for the nonce, and perhaps even after this is all over. I cannot afford to trust other peoples or lands so easily, lest I risk my people's destruction.

 

Torch: ...Namor, I--

 

Namor: [Turns away.] For what it is worth, I trust you and your allies for now, for I have no other choice. But I still do not trust your people as a whole--

 

Torch: They... they're not 'my' people. Not exactly.

 

Namor: [Turns around, raising an eyebrow in interest.] Oh?

 

Torch: Hey, I can light myself and other things on fire. You haven't seen any other humans that can do that, have you?

 

Namor: Well... not exactly, no... but I have heard of – seen – others of your kind, capable of committing great feats. I may well not have survived this day if not for the one with the ring...

 

Torch: Yeah, well, most people – most humans -- aren't capable of doing things like that. And in my case, well...

 

Namor: Go on...

 

Torch: ...Don't know why I'm telling you this... I guess it all started back in '39; when I was first 'turned on.' Then, all I knew was that I was some guy in an orange spandex suit – hell, I didn't even know what any of these words I'm saying meant – starting at the world for the first time. But I couldn't touch it, or do much of anything with it; I was trapped in some test-tube. It also happened to be fire-proof, as I learned not long after I was first turned on, and I burst straight into flame. Of course, I only knew about the why later, but... See, I was never born; I was built. The closest thing I had to a father was Professor Horton, who I still don't know much about, other then that he was wanting to make his name in the papers big, and saw creating me as the way to do it. And, to his credit, he did, and I probably wouldn't be standing here, talking to you, if not for him. For a while though, I wasn't anything more then a clueless baby; I hardly knew much of anything, and wouldn't until.. well, I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, I was really just created to be an artificial man; I had above-average strength and endurance, sure, and thanks to being.. well, artificial, I don't need to eat, sleep, or even breath; I don't even know if I'll ever die a natural death. I guess you can call that another Superpower, after a fashion. But there wasn't supposed to be much else. ...Until some oxygen got into my tube after I was activated for the first time, and I flared up like a match covered with gasoline. The Professor quickly drained all of the Oxygen out of my tank, which I didn't need anyway, but he saw this as just icing on the cake. I'd be quite the weapon for our celebrated military, given the proper training...

 

Namor: And you wonder why I don't trust humans...

 

Human Torch: Yeah, well, as you said, he was only human; he saw me a means to get rich quick, and he wanted to take it. But he saw another way to get some moolah first. He went and put me on exhibit, on display, like I was some sort of sideshow! Though of course, when everyone saw me burst into flame... they were pretty excited at first, but then some yahoos in the papers went and started talking about how I represented some sort of threat – end of the world, not natural – and this got everyone riled up. I guess the Professor cared more about his own reputation then he did me, because he got me sealed up in a cement block underground for months.

 

Namor: Barbaric!

 

Human Torch: I guess, but... I was really the world's first Superhuman, at least as far I know. People were scared. And Horton, well... he might not have been all that bad after all. Before I was sealed away, he managed to hook me up to a sort of radio-system, and for the next year, from '38 to '39, he taught me... well, everything. Letters, words, numbers, science, math, theories, ideas, things, places – the whole kitten kaboodle!

 

Namor: 'Kitten kaboodle'?

 

Human Torch: Eh, Forget it. But he taught me so much, because he took pity on me, far as I know, and I guess I owe him for that. But all he really did was make me want to see all of those places and things, to get out there; see the world! So... I did. For a whole week, I burnt myself up like fireworks. I had to rest myself up every now and then, but each time I flared up, I burned away some of the cement. And in time, I managed to do enough damage to flame on for one final blast of heat, and burst my way out of there. I was free!

 

Namor: And then...?

 

Human Torch: Well of course, it was all over the papers. 'FLAMING MENACE BURSTS FREE! DANGER TO ALL HUMANKIND!' I think someone named 'Jameson' might have written that one; not really sure. But, yeah; pretty much everyone feared me, though some, like these two crooks, tried to use me! Let's just say things didn't work out too well for them. I did try to get back to the Professor, but it was there that I learned what I know how; despite how much pity he may have taken on me, he still saw me first and foremost as a meal ticket. I wasn't going to stand for that, so... I just flew off. Not long after, I joined the police force for a time; tried to learn what it meant to really be human. And that's actually what led me to my first break; what finally caused the people to start seeing me not as a threat, a monster, a menace... but as a hero.

 

Namor: And that break was...?

 

Human Torch: Uh, well... it was you.

 

Namor: ...Oh. Well...

 

Human Torch: Hey, I didn't plan on any of that. It just kinda of... happened.

 

Namor: Yes, yes, I suppose. Still... I'm impressed.

 

Human Torch: You? Impressed?

 

Namor: [Smiles.] Yes, quite. You had ultimately no hope; no prospects but to be some tool used by the ruling power of the humans who built you, but through sheer determination and strength, you prevailed! Now that is a story worth telling!

 

Human Torch: Well, if you say so...

 

Namor: [Puts an arm around the Torch.] Come! Much as I dislike a great deal of this surface world, there are some aspects that interest me. We shall first check up on my old 'friend' Merrano, and then, we shall visit this 'Aquarium' that I have heard so much about! I much desire to see how my fellow denizens of the deep are being treated here on your world, if treated well at all.

 

Human Torch: Uh, well...

 

Namor: [Glares intensely at the Torch.] You would dare refuse the offer of a Prince, now King, of the realm?

 

Human Torch: Uh, no, but--

 

Namor: Splendid! Then let us check on Merrano, and then, regardless of how that business is settled, we shall be on our way! Come!

 

Human Torch: What have I gotten myself into...?

 

                                                                              Scene 2

 

[Our scene opens in one of the hallways of the mansion, with more windows on one side, and a lovely brown carpet beneath the feet of none other than the Phantom Reporter, Dr.Midnight, and Hourman, who is currently nervously scratching the back of his head...]

 

Hourman: Okay, look guys, I'm not sure what's going on here, but-

 

Phantom Reporter: You know what's going on. [He points at Hourman's black pouch.] I saw you take one of those out; it made you act even worse then before. It'd be one thing if it just gave you Superstrength, but--

 

Hourman: Wait... wait a minute-- that one wasn't--

 

Dr.Midnight: Wasn't what?

Hourman: It wasn't... oh... hell...

 

Dr.Midnight: Hourman? Hey, are you alright there? Hourman?

 

Hourman: Oh... oh, sorry there... [He's holding onto the side of his head with one hand, blinking his eyes as if a mist had cleared.] That... that wasn't a full tablet. That one was designed for 20 minutes at the most. [He is acting almost completely differently then before, as if a drunken lummox had instantly changed before one's eyes into a reserved, well-mannered intellectual.]

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Now I don't know if I'm dealing with a Superpowered drug addict or a severe case of bipolar disorder...

 

Hourman: Bipolar... Ah, yes! You must be referring to when I was on my tablets. I fear that I have some explaining to do...

 

Phantom Reporter: I think you do. Just what in Sam's hill is going on here?

 

Hourman: If you will allow me, I shall proceed to explain. [He reaches into his pouch, and takes out a small white tablet.] I call these 'Hour-Tablets'.

 

Dr.Midnight: 'Hour-Tablets'?

 

Phantom Reporter: Sshhhhh!

 

Hourman: Yes. These allow any living being to become imbued with great strength, speed, and endurance for a time. The results vary from species to species, and perhaps even from person to person, though seeing as I am the only human that I have tested my formula on--

 

Dr.Midnight: You tested the formula on yourself?!

 

Hourman: Yes; I deemed that the most reliable person to test this formula on was the only being that I could trust with such a potentially volatile chemical; myself.

 

Phantom Reporter: And now, you can be a bonafide Superhuman for up to an hour.

 

Hourman: Yes, precisely! Though I must admit, the results aren't exactly what I had in mind...

 

Dr.Midnight: You got that right! Every time you pop one of those things in, or even just one of those smaller ones, you become almost a different person entirely, from what I've seen; so much so, it's almost as if you're intoxicated...

 

Hourman: Yes, well, I suppose that is one of the unintended side effects...

 

Phantom Reporter: 'Side effects?'

 

Hourman: Well, yes, sorry to say. This wasn't so evident on the animals that I tested the formula on, but... it seems that the formula reduces one's intelligence for as long as the formula lasts. And it alters other aspects of their personality as well...

 

Dr.Midnight: In other words, you get stupid, and you lose your inhibitions.

 

Hourman: Well, some of them, yes... But, I assure you, there are no other side effects...

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Really.

 

Hourman: Yes, really.

 

Dr.Midnight: Is that so? Well, I'll just tell you what I saw when you took that other tablet. It may not have lasted as long, but it was still pretty potent; you got even sloppier, and even dumber, from my standing.

 

Hourman: But--

 

Dr.Midnight: And before you give me any bullshit about how you were 'needed', there were plenty of others out there who were doing their part. And lest you forget, me and the Reporter don't have have much, if any, in the way of powers at all, but we still do what we can.

 

Hourman: ...Truth be told... there is one other potential side effect--

 

Dr.Midnight: I knew it.

 

Phantom Reporter: Calm down, Midnight. ...Hourman. Are you... addicted?

 

Hourman: Not just yet. Believe me when I say so, but even if I was not needed, I still just wanted to help. Truly. But... I have still seen what it has done to animals I have tested it on. They... they really just can't stop.

 

Dr.Midnight: And you don't figure the same will happen to you? If it hasn't happened already?

 

Hourman: I've already been attempting to take precautions. That is why I made the smaller tablets; no need to give myself another full hour of power if not necessary. I've also managed to make a new type of tablet; hopefully, it will keep all of the power, but lose none of my intellect,and  also reduce the potential for addiction. However, I am not so sure sure about the loss of inhibitions...

 

Dr.Midnight: So you're saying that you'll be just as smart, but you'll still have an altered personality and might possibly get addicted to it.

 

Hourman: Yes. And since I had only completed it just recently, I have yet to produce more. But by the time we ship off, I am sure I will be able to produce enough, and be able to continue to produce--

 

Phantom Reporter: We get it. This all still sounds a bit fishy to me, but you sound like you're trying to keep all of this under control.

 

Hourman: Yes, that is true. ...You know, it was never my desire to produce these tablets, or even engage in chemicals at all.

 

Phantom Reporter: No?

 

Hourman: No. I think it all began when I was put a boy. I was just playing in my sandbox, as many boys do, when I was encountered by a tall man in a dark, well-tailored suit. I do not fully remember him, or all of what he said, but I remember this; he gave me a small hourglass, and said 'Watch the sands fall. Slow, steady. That's time in it's most basic form. The order of time will help you in the years to come, when you, and those you love most, need saving.' And then he said we would meet again, in my final hour. And then he was gone.

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Are you sure you aren't drunk?

 

Hourman: Honestly, I'm not sure why I'm telling you both this, but... I suppose it may be that I've been wanting to tell someone this for some time. ...Since then, that stranger's words have always stayed on my mind, and even to this day, I've been obsessed with time in all of it's forms. I've theorized so much on the very nature of time, and all it's intricacies; I even thought about traveling through time itself, and I believe it's very possible! ...But alas, not today. Not with the limited resources and technology that we as a species have managed to acquire. And I still needed money, and a job; one has to make a living, you know, so I went to work for Bannermain Chemicals. I had some knowledge of chemistry, and so I went to work on the same formula that gives me such power. I wasn't exactly sure just how to use this power at first, but with beings like our Green Lantern and others like the Sandman patrolling the streets, and doing their part in our troubled times, how could I refuse? I also decided, after some thought, to downplay the results of the chemical to my company, at least for the time being. As you said, it's not exactly been foolproofed, has it?

 

Phantom Reporter: I guess not. ...Well, Mr...

 

Hourman: Call me Tyler. Rex Tyler. Seeing as we're going to be working together for some time, I feel it only appropriate we know one another's names.

 

Phantom Reporter: ...Mine's Richard Jones.

 

Dr.Midnight: ...McNider. Charles McNider.

 

Hourman: Splendid!

 

Phantom Reporter: Yes, I'm sure it is. ...Well, it seems like you're aware of the side effects of this... formula, and that you're trying to keep it under control. I hope for all our sakes that you do, but for now, I think I can give you the benefit of the doubt. I'll be keeping an eye on you, though...

 

Dr.Midnight: And I'll be keeping out an even closer one. ...Still, we don't exactly have cause to doubt you, nor could we stop you if you were running on one of those tablets, and you seem like a good man. Just make sure to contact me if there's any problems. After all, I was a doctor.

 

Hourman: ...I shall do you as request. Still, it was rather nice, finally being able to... to share all this with someone...

 

Phantom Reporter: Well, I guess I'm glad we could help. You just make sure to try out that new tablet and to make sure you can produce more. If you're going to be coming along with us, I think you're going to need it...

 

                                                                     Scene 3

 

[Our scene opens with Colonel Ross, Mastermind Excello, and the Eternal Brain walking down a set of stairs that will eventually lead to the basement, where Meranno is currently held captive. GL is about to follow when he notices Captain America looking at a large painting of George Washington nearby.]

 

GL: You coming, Cap?

 

Cap: ...In a bit. [He continues to look at the painting, looking in what seems to be great analysis and depth.]

 

GL: Uh, Cap...?

 

Cap: I used to be a painter, you know...

 

GL: Come again?

 

Cap: Rather, that's what I was working towards. I wasn't exactly the strongest or most fit growing up; in fact, quite the opposite. I was always something of a reed; tall and thin, with hardly any muscle to my name. But, so long as I had my paintbrush and my canvas, I was content. I didn't really need anything else.

 

GL: [Smiling] Well, obviously something changed your mind, to go gallivanting about like the living embodiment of the American Flag!

 

Cap: And I guess something did. Soon as I saw the first newsreel of the Nazi's storming over Europe, I knew then and there that my destiny changed forever. I just didn't know how. But I did know that I couldn't let this stand, nor could I just let everyone else go off to fight, and leave me with my canvas and my brush, not doing much of anything. So I tried my darnedest to get into the army, to pass the qualifications, and fight for this land that I love. ...Course, I was so skinny and frail that even after the fourth time, they still passed me up. But as it turns out, our country had just rescued a certain defector from the Rhineland recently; a Professor by the name of Dr.Erskine, and like me, I guess he just had enough. Seems he was also working on a sort of serum; a serum that could raise those who drank it to physical perfection. But it would only work on the right subjects.

 

GL: And you were 'the right subject'?

 

Captain America: They seemed to think so. But to me, it was as if everything I'd been wishing for, hoping for, had just fallen into my lap! How could I pass it up? ...Well, there was the chance of death--

 

GL: Knew there was a catch.

 

Captain America: Hey, I'm still standing here, aren't I? ...Anyway, the process itself is still hush-hush, but the end result was everything they hoped for. I was the pinnacle of human perfection; some could get there just by incredible training and diligence, but I wasn't likely to get there anytime soon on my own, if at all. Unfortunately... well, again, the whole day itself is hush-hush, but... Dr.Erskine...

 

GL: Something happened to him?

 

Cap: Yeah, I guess you could say that. ...I can't give any more names, but I can give you the gist. The Nazi's got wind of the whole experiment, and sent a spy to stop it, including the Professor. They may not have stopped the first success, but now... well, let's just say that there might not be any more quite like me...

 

GL: Cap... I'm--

 

Cap: Hey, don't be. What's done is done. If you keep dwelling on the past, you won't get anywhere, will you? I'm just glad to be doing my part to help end this, once and for all.

 

GL: Sounds good to me--

 

Eternal Brain: [Sending out a telepathic message] ATTENTION EVERYONE!

 

Cap: What--?!

 

Eternal Brain: AGAIN, I SAY, ATTENTION EVERYONE! COME DOWN TO THE BASEMENT IMMEDIATELY! THERE IS SOMETHING YOU ALL NEED TO SEE!

 

Cap: On it!

 

GL: Same here!

 

[And so, everyone heads off to the basement below...]

Chapter Text

                                                                      Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens just a few minutes before the Eternal Brain has called everyone down into the basement. Black Widow is standing in the middle of a long hallway, away from everyone else. She's holding her head and has her eyes closed as if she's experiencing some sort of sharp pain, and her hair begins billowing moderately. Just then, a blue&red blur zips right out in front of her, revealing itself to be none other then the Flash, wearing a bright, beaming smile as usual.]

 

Flash: Mind if I cut in?

 

[The Widow tries her best to ignore him, turning around and attempting to walk away, but the Flash merely zips right back in front of her.]

 

Flash: Hey now, leaving the party so soon?

 

Widow: ...'Party?'

 

Flash: ...You don't speak slang, do you?

 

Widow: ...Leave me be...

 

Flash: Now, that's not very nice! I just try to help, and she says 'leave me be!'

 

Widow: ...'Help?'

 

Flash: Hey, it doesn't take the fastest man alive to see you've got some sort of problem; you hardly ever crack a smile, you had some serious beef with the Brain rummaging through Namor's head like a trash can, and now, you're holding your head like it's about to crack open. If something isn't eating you, then I'm Jack Benny.

 

Widow: Jack... Benny?

 

Flash: ...Kid, are you even from here, if you don't even know who Jack Benny is? Britain, maybe? Then again, you don't have the accent. Canada? Maybe New Jersey?

 

Widow: I... I am not sure... where I am from. All I know...

 

Flash: Yeeeees?

 

Widow: I... I was slain--

 

Flash: Whoa! Hold the phone! You didn't tell me we were talking about slaying people here--

 

Widow: I was slain...

 

Flash: ...I was trying to lighten the mood...

 

Widow: ...Slain. Yes. I was slain. I can still remember it; as if the blood from the wound is still pouring from my bre--

 

Flash: Whoah, whoah there, lady! Not in public! ...Okay, okay; so, you're saying that you... you were killed? Then how are you still here? ...Then again, I went and inhaled hard water vapors thanks to snoozing on the job, and I still lived to tell about it and became a speed demon besides. I guess I'm not one to talk.

 

Widow: ...Fire.

 

Flash: Come again?

 

Widow: Fire. Fire and darkness; suffering, misery, and pain. That is the last I remember before... [She spreads out her arms as if to showcase her entire frame] before this. I... I did not used to wear these clothes. And my hair... my hair was shorter, that I know. ...I took... I took my revenge--!

 

Flash: Now just stop right there. Lady, I'm getting the feeling I'm about to hear something I don't wanna' hear--

 

Widow: I.. touched him. And it was the first time I had ever done such a thing. ...He might have been trying to shoot me again; his pistol was still in his hand, and I was not sure of what I could take, or do. But--!

 

Flash: But you're not sure if he was really going to shoot you that time.

 

Widow: No. But... he killed me! That I know for sure. So... with a mere touch...

 

Flash: With a mere touch, you did to him what he did to you. ...You know, the whole story is a bit harebrained to say the least, but hey, I think I'm living proof that stranger things have happened. ...Now, listen; you can't tell this to anybody else, understand? I'm a bit more forgiving; you're lost, hurt, confused, you might not even be sure what's what, of up or down, right and left – the point is, you're a bit screwed up. But others, well... others might not be as understanding. If they even think you up and killed a guy--

 

Widow: Why should I hide what is the truth? He was... he was practically screaming to me for vengeance, so I gave it to him. Is that not simple enough?

 

Flash: Not really, no-- hey, you hear that?

 

Widow: My mind is closed to most. What is it you hear?

 

Flash: Seems Brainy is telling us to hustle down to the basement. I guess we should follow...

 

Widow: He must have something to say about this 'Merrano.' The Atlantian is a strange one; he had done evil, I know this, but I could not sense the screams for vengeance that I usually receive from his ilk. And now, I cannot sense anything from him at all; as his whole soul had departed this earthy shell...

 

Merrano: That's what Brainy said, more or less. Come on; just grab hold, and we're there!

 

[The Widow grabs hold, and in less then a second, the two are in the basement; The Eternal Brain, Excello, and Colonel Ross are already there, and Green Lantern and Captain America can be heard running down the steps close behind. Before them, trapped in a transparent green forcefield created by GL, is Merrano. He is laid down on the floor as he was when he was trapped in the bubble, but something is... off. His eyes are open wide, but lifeless; his chest isn't moving so much as a breath, and blood is trickling from his ears. The robot is there as well, but it 's head seems to have exploded in a small fire. By this point, everyone else has arrived, and all are aghast at just what has occurred, except for the Torch, who absorbs the fire from the robot; Namor, who begins to deeply contemplate the situation; and Dynamic Man, who says--]

 

Dynamic Man: Eh, good riddance!

 

[At that remark, Namor whirls around and pins Dynamic Man right against the nearest wall.]

 

Torch&Cap: NAMOR!

 

Dynamic Man: Hey, what gives--!

 

Namor: He was one of my people!

 

Dynamic Man: So?! He tried to kill the rest of your people! And besides, humans keep on trying to kill others of their kind all the--

 

Namor: Humans aren't an endangered species! Do you understand?! To you, one more human's death, especially those that your ruling power deems 'evil' or 'corrupt', is but one lost grain of sand, but to my people, as they are now, it is as if an entire lake has all but dried up! 'Good riddance?!' I shall say that to you, when--!

 

Captain America: NAMOR! PUT... DYNAMIC MAN... down.

 

Namor: … [After what seems like an eternity, Namor eventually obliges.]

 

Dynamic Man: Good thing you listened to the Captain, buddy, or else--!

 

Cap: DYNAMIC MAN!

 

Dynamic Man: What?! All I was saying was--

 

Cap: Just drop it, soldier!

 

Dynamic Man: ...Fine, yeah, sure, whatever. Not even worth it...

 

Cap: ...So, anyone have any ideas on what's happened here? Brain, Excello?

 

GL: Hold on; might be better if I just drop the field... [He does so.]

 

Dr.Midnight: Hm... [Takes a close look at Merrano, especially the trickles of blood coming from his ears. The Phantom Reporter is also observing closely.]

 

Dr.Midnight:[To the Reporter] You thinking what I'm thinking?

 

Phantom Reporter: [Smiles] Not exactly, seeing as my medical expertise is pretty darn limited, but I think I've got the gist.

 

Dr.Midnight: [Speaks to everyone at once.] Some of you may or may not have already suspected this, but judging from the blood in the ear and, well, the lack of any vital signs to speak of, it seems that Merrano likely suffered some sort of severe injury in the brain. As for exactly what that injury is, I'm not quite sure. However, with your permission, I am prepared to cut into his brain, and determine just what the injury was, and what caused it...

 

Eternal Brain: It would be so much easier if I could just dive into his brain and pluck out what information we require, but alas, dead brains are something of an enigma to me. However, I do have quite the expertise in brain surgery, so if I can be of some assistance--

 

Dr.Midnight: Much obliged.

 

Colonel Ross: We'll have to get in contact with other officials first, but I think I'll be able to arrange for you to enact an operation, so long as you wear those goggles of yours. I've seen you in action in the field, and they seem to work wonders.

 

Dr.Midnight: First time I've ever gotten a real compliment for these things, which I honestly never wanted to wear in the first place, but, hey; you take what you can get.

 

Phantom Reporter: It's also possible that this was some sort of precaution on the enemy's part. If they can send robots out to hunt down and slaughter people who, of all things, live under the sea – no offense, Namor – then surely they can not only destroy those same robots as will, but perhaps even implant a device in someone's else brain, and be willing to set that device off if there's even the slightest chance that it can be traced back to them. Or whoever was responsible for all this. Still, if we can salvage both whatever device may be in Merrano's brain, as well as whatever's left of the robot, we might still be able to learn something.

 

Eternal Brain: Quite right, quite right! I shall attempt to to call some specialists over; all Superheroes, but also skilled mechanics, engineers, and scientists! Some are more skilled in one of those subjects then the other, but ah well. I believe that they may be able to assist us not just with this matter, but more such situations as well in the days to come. They were to be arriving a tad later, but I suppose we shall have to hurry their arrival. Flash?

 

Flash: You want me to pick them up, correct sir? But sir – Brain, sir, Eternal Brain, Brainy, can I call you Brainy? Brainy, if it's all right with you and the Colonel here, I'll do it, but I'd appreciate being able to see my girl first. She'll want to know what I've been doin', and--

 

Eternal Brain: Actually, I believe that one of our new arrivals is located in the Twin Cities as we speak. Is that not where you live?

 

Flash: Are you serious? I-- I mean, it is, sure.

 

Eternal Brain: Then I see no problem with stopping to see your girl for a brief moment before beginning to collect our guests. Do you concur, Colonel?

 

Ross: If I didn't, you might give me an aneurysm.

 

Eternal Brain: And we wouldn't want that, would we? Oh, I kid, I kid! ...Maybe. In any case, Flash, you should be all set.

 

Flash: Thanks! I mean, I really appreciate it! ...Hey, anyone want to come along and meet my girl? She's really a lovely little thing...

 

Green Lantern: I'd love to, but I might be needed here; I'd imagine that cutting open the noggin of someone strong enough to take on Dynamic Man or Namor is going to be pretty hard to do without some... special equipment from my end.

 

Cap: I think I'm better off here too. You never know when something unexpected may occur; need to be ready.

 

Torch: Well, I don't have anything I need to do here, far as I know. I don't think there's any problem with getting out for a half-hour or so...

 

[Namor scowls]

 

Flash: [Smiles.] Doubt it'll even take half that long. [Looks at Widow.] Hey; you don't got anything to do here too, do ya'?

 

Widow: ...Now that Merrano is dead, no, not--

 

Flash: Great! Well, I guess that settles it!

 

Widow: But...

 

Eternal Brain: Splendid! Then, if it is all settled, I will imput the locations and basic profiles of our new arrivals into your brain. It is possible that you may also encounter other heroes in your travels, but I am not honestly sure. If you encounter any such heroes, and they are not part of a home squadron, such as the Liberty Legion, then I see no harm in inviting them along. But, I am not sure...

 

Flash: I'll be sure to keep that in mind. Well, without further ado, I guess we can go!

 

Hourman: Is it all right if I tag along as well? I am quite interested in seeing what my fellow scientists may have to offer...

 

Flash: I don't see why not.

 

Widow: But--!

 

Excello: Yes; it seems to me that that you four are indeed the proper quartet for such a journey. Well then, without further adue; Godspeed!

 

Flash: Same here! [He then grabs both The Widow's and the Torch's hands, with the Torch holding the hand of Hourman, and they're off...]

 Widow: But--!

Eternal Brain: [Thinks to himself] 'Hm... That Widow is... she is quite the puzzle. Try as I might, her mind seems forever closed to me. I would have had her stay, but... I suppose I will be needed with the upcoming surgery. Still, perhaps when that is over. Yes... I think then I shall have a little 'chat' with our mysterious widow...'

Chapter Text

                                                                                 Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens with a blue&red blur, with shades of bright-orange, dark purple, and yellow&black mixed in, stopping straight in front of a small apartment building on the ground level; no-one else is currently in the hallway except for the Flash, Black Widow, Human Torch, and Hourman.]

 

Flash: So this... [He gestures towards the apartment room door,] is where my darling Joan hangs out when she's not busy studying her heart out for her nursing degree. [Very quickly raps on the door.] Joan? Honey? I've got some guests here...

 

Hourman: There doesn't seem to be any reply...

 

Human Torch: Well, obviously...

 

Flash: Hold on for just a second... [Zips right through the door, and then zips right back out.] Huh.

 

Human Torch: Something wrong?

 

Flash: Er, yes and no. She doesn't seem to be in, which is a real shame. I was gonna' introduce you all, have a nice little chat, but I guess she's out doing... something. Studying, maybe?

 

Hourman: If this 'Joan' isn't here, might I suggest instead searching for our first new recruit?

 

Flash: Yeah, yeah, I--

 

[The Black Widow's neck then then whirls to the left, as if they're staring right through the apartment's walls...]

 

Flash: Kid, what in--

 

Widow: There is one who deserves vengeance; he is not far from this place...

 

Hourman: 'Vengeance?' Miss, what do you--

 

Widow: Except... it is already being delivered...

 

Torch: Again, what do you—what in the--?!

 

[Just then, an incredibly loud, perhaps incredibly destructive sound can be heard from Joan's room...]

 

Widow: It seems that both the recipient of vengeance and the one delivering it are within the next room...

 

Flash: Okay; she may not be in there, but if there's something going on in there, we're headin' in! Everyone, grab hold! [Everyone does so, and in a micro-second, they are no longer standing within the hallway, but within Joan's room, and--]

 

Torch: HOLY HANNA!

 

Flash: You can say that again!

 

[Where there was once a wall and a set of windows is now a big gaping hole; partly obscuring that hole is a black van. Tied to the van's roof is what seems to be a man in a suit, though it appears that a Nazi-badge was hastily slapped onto his chest; the man himself is rather battered and wounded, as well as nearly unconscious due to being rammed head first through a solid brick wall, but he's still breathing. And stepping out of the car is a man in a pure-white business suit, tie, fedora, and gloves, with a white surgeon's mask covering his face.]

 

Flash: People... I've got some really bad news...

 

Hourman: Yes...?

 

Flash: According to the info the Brain shoved into my head... this is our guy...

 

Hourman: The one on top, or the one below? Because either isn't exactly the choice of of a well-adjusted individual, I can tell you that much...

 

Flash: Believe me, I'm in the dark as much as the rest of you...

 

[The man in white seems to have ignored the others, and instead strides over to the side of the van to speak to his 'guest'...]

 

Man in White: Yes, well, that was a rather splendid little trip, wasn't it? Of course, I dare say I had the better experience, what with not being strapped to the roof of your own vehicle and smashed through a brick wall, but I suppose that is merely life. Now, are you willing to speak, or--

 

Flash: [Zips right in front of the man in white] Okay, you'd better have a damn good reason for breaking down the wall of my girl's humble abode, because otherwise, pal, you're gonna' be puking your guts out seven ways to Sunday!

 

Man in White: Hm? What are you-- [Takes a good, slow look at his surroundings!] Ah! This seems to be someone's apartment, I would say...

 

Flash: Would you? Because it seems to me you don't really care much either way. Now, what in the love of Pete are you doing here, and who in Sam's hill are you?

 

Man in White: Very well, very well. I normally do not associate myself with such costumed ingrates like yourselves, but if I must, then I must, so long as it will abate your curiosity, and send you on your merry way...

 

Flash: Oh, I don't know about that. But why don't you tell me your story first? Like who the guy on top is...

 

Man in White Oh, you mean Frederick? Yes, well, Frederick, you see, is a bonafide member of the Nazi party! I had just prevented him from planting a bomb or two--

 

Torch: Bomb?!

 

Man in White: Yes, yes, 'bomb', but I believe I managed to... 'persuade' him from so much as setting them down!

 

Hourman: So, what you'res saying is that you managed to get to him before he could plant his bombs?

 

Man in White: Yes! I managed to obtain his whereabouts, as well as any knowledge as to what our friend Frederick was about to do, before he was able to complete his task.

 

Flash: And the car?

 

Man in White: Oh, yes! It seems that this rather poor excuse for a four-wheeled moving machine is dear old Frederick's car. So, in an attempt to 'grill' – as some may say -- any additional information I could out of him, I strapped him to his own vehicle, and took him for quite the ride!

 

Flash: You got that right! You not only busted down public property, you busted down my gal's apartment!

 

Man in White: Uh, ahem, yes; it seems that Frederick's vehicle is so inadequate that, oft times, you can't steer it quite correctly. Shame I didn't notice that sooner.

 

Flash: ...Riiiiiiiiiiiight. Look, I'd sooner turn you over to the police under normal circumstances, but according the Brain, we need your help, and we need it good. We've got another couple of experts to pick up too. I'll explain it all on the way--

 

Man in White: Now, hold on, dear sir! I believe there is a chance that I am verge of uncovering a massive Nazi operation that could jeopardize the very glo-!

 

Hourman: How much of a chance?

 

Man in White: 0.001, but still--

 

Flash: Right. Alright, funny boy, look here; it's either prison, or the Superhero equivalent of the draft notice. What's it gonna' be?

 

Man in White: Well, I've never much cared for prisons; they're dank, they smell atrocious, and you stand a sooner chance of being rap--

 

Flash: Right! Draft! Everyone, grab hold!

 

Hourman: But did you not wish to see your 'girl', as you have called her? And I daresay, this matter might deserve at least some looking into?

 

Black Widow: There is still a need for vengeance...

 

Man in White: Vegeance, hm? Ah yes; I remember when I delivered my own special brand of vengeance; right up through that foul Nazi's a--

 

Flash: Okay, okay; you, watch your mouth! ...Look, we'll drop... 'Frederick' here off at the police station, and have them deal with it. We've got this loonie on our hands in the meantime...

 

Hourman: If you say so...

 

Flash: I do say so, thank you very much...

 

Man in White: Now, now, do I not get a choice in the matter?

 

Flash: Not unless you want spend at least a night in sing-sing, because that's really your only alternative...

 

Man in White: Well, I could grab my guns from my pockets and –

 

Flash: [Two strange guns instantly appear in Flash's hands.] You were saying? I have to say though, they're not exactly your standard model.

 

Man in White: [Sighs] They' not. They are my own specially made laser-pistols. Think Flash Gordon.

 

Flash: Uh, right. Look, you comin' or not?

 

Man in White: [Sighs again.] If I must. And for now, you may call me Dr.Nemesis, I suppose...

 

Hourman: Nemesis to what?

 

Dr.Nemesis: Why, to all Nazi-kind, of course! Although other members of the Axis nation can also make good sport on occasion...

 

Hourman: ...You are aware that 'Nazi's is not a term for a nationality, and that 'the Axis' is not a nation, aren't you?

 

Dr.Nemesis: Really? First I've heard...

 

Flash: Okay, you know what? Joan can wait. We're pickin' up the other two, and then hiking straight on over to the Brain, because something's screwy with this guy. He's almost like a Loony Tune!

 

Torch: 'Loony Tune?' I've heard of them, but I'm afraid I haven't had the chance to see them just yet...

 

Flash: Trust me, you'll love 'em. But that'll have to wait. Right; everyone, really grab hold...

 

[Everyone does so, though Dr.Nemesis takes his sweet time until the Widow, of all people, drags him in. And once again, they're off. And only seconds after they do so...

Just arriving home, Joan opens the door, only to see her apartment nearly wrecked, with a giant black van in it's place. Unbeknownst to her, 'Frederick' has been safely delivered to the police, and the others are on their way to their next destination. And all Joan can do is say a word that she thought she would never so much as whisper in her lifetime...]

 

Joan: ...HELL!

Chapter Text

                                                                                              Scene 1

 

 

[Our scene opens in what appears to be an old ritual chamber of an ancient Egyptian temple. Tied to a lavishly decorated table is a strong, well-built Pharaoh, and on the other table is his Queen. Both have been stripped to nothing but tattered loincloths, and they appear to only be just conscious, as if recovering from the effects of being knocked out or drugged. And standing above the Pharoh is a man who the Pharaoh, beginning to recover, knows as his seemingly loyal priest, but who now has taken on the Pharoh's royal garments himself, while a woman next to him has taken on the Queen's own garments; she seems to be looking on this situation with uncertainty, as if she is not sure just what course of action she should take. The priest then smiles, baring as much of his rotting teeth as as he can muster, and stabs a sleek, reflective dagger straight into the Queen's heart. The Pharaoh cries out and attempts to break free, but to no avail; he is still too weak. Just as the priest is about to stab the Pharaoh, the woman in the Queen's garments seems to have a change of heart, as she grips the Pharaoh’s hands, and stabs the dagger into his own heart. He is still able to knock the women against the nearest stone wall floor; she is unconscious and hurt, but still alive. The priest realizes that he does not have long, but still has just enough strength left to lift the dagger one final time, and stab it straight into the Pharoah's still-beating heart--]

 

 

 

???: GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH!

 

 

 

[A man wakes up and partly rises from what seems the most horrible nightmare. The man, with a similar physical build to the one in the dream, but caucasian with blond hair, is now sitting up in a bed wearing absolutely nothing but his 'birthday suit', though a long, wide blanket covers everything below his chest. Laying beside him, facing him, is a woman with short red hair that goes down to the middle of her back, as if she used to keep it shorter, but now, is letting it go; her front hair&bangs are cut very short, so as to not get in the way of her eyes. She is also fit and well-built for her gender, and tall as well, at 6'2; just one inch shorter then her lover. She soon rises as well, screaming at the top of her lungs, just like her the man beside her. Both of them are breathing very quick&heavily, but soon, slow down, and look long at one another...]

 

 

 

Man: So... you had the same dream, I guess?

 

 

 

Woman: Yes; I suppose I could say the same about you.

 

 

 

[Across from the bed is a closet in which two costumes – one for a man, and one for a woman – are hung. They each consist of green cloth pants, red boots with a yellow line down the middle that splits into three extending lines positioned as if to look like a hawk's claw, and a metallic yellow belt. Each has a yellow harness around the chest area, with a large pair of wings attached in the back, though the female's harness is shaped more like a bra, if a rather revealing one. And both costumes also feature a mask shaped like the head of a hawk on top, though there are eyeholes where the eyes should be, allowing the users of the masks to look out of them. And on each side of each mask is a cloth-recreation of a hawk's wing.]

 

 

 

Man: Were you--

 

 

 

Woman: Stripped to nothing but oldfashioned undergarments and slaughtered like a pig? Yeah, I think that covers it...

 

 

 

Man: Sounds like the same dream...

 

 

 

Woman: ...I'm guessing it's not the first time we've had it...

 

 

 

Man: I... I think so. And I don't think it'll be the last.

 

 

 

Woman: I hope it is. Look; I know that what we're supposed to be; reincarnations of... of some ancient Egyptian monarach--

 

 

 

Man: Pharaoh, dear, Pharaoh...

 

 

 

Woman: You always do love to correct me, don't you?

 

 

 

Man: Not just you...

 

 

 

Woman: Yeah; I suppose it's just one quirk that makes you so loveable...

 

 

 

Man: Not to anyone but you.

 

 

 

Woman: You can say that again.

 

 

 

Man: Not to anyone--

 

 

 

Woman: Hey, I didn't mean that--

 

 

 

Man: I know.

 

 

 

Woman: I'm sure. ...Anyway, I know we're supposed to be the spitting images of this Pharoah and his true love, his queen – well, if the both of them suddenly turned Caucasian – but... at least at the start, I didn't feel like I was her; you understand?

 

 

 

Man: I know the feeling. At first, we just 'knew' we were them – maybe had a few vague memories or recollections– but now...

 

 

 

Woman: I know. Now, we keep getting this dream – of seeing the both of us there, and the priest, and... well, you know...

 

 

 

Man: Again, I know. And every single time that happens, it's as if more memories of that life come into my mind, and become clearer and clearer still. And I'm starting to wonder if I'm really Carter Hall, the archeologist who dresses up like a hawk and takes an old rusty mace to the scum of society, or if instead...

 

 

 

Woman: Or if instead, we're really this priest and his lover, and not just... I don't know, sort of them. It's... unsettling to say the least. I mean, I used to love getting my hair curled, take a trip to the pictures; just live a normal life. Only now, I cant' stand keeping my hair any other way then 'au natural', front strangley excluded, makeup's a no-go  -- although I do ocassionaly get a brief urge to cut all my hair short and put on green eyeshade -- and I find myself not only remembering how to use everything from a sword to a crossbow, but... I actually like using them. No; I love using them. The craftsmanship, the skill&grace required of such an art, the sheer thrill of it! ...And I don't know whether I'm horrified – horrified that my personality, my very sense of self, is slowly alterting as-- maybe even right as I'm talking to you, and that there doesn't seem to be a thing I can do to stop it – or that I just don't seem to care. And I get the feeling that these changes... they won't stop. At least, not anytime soon...

 

 

 

Man: I know. If... maybe, if I'd never had touched that blasted dagger...

 

 

 

Woman: I hate to say it, but I don't know if you ever had a choice. It was calling to you, at least from what you told me. And the minute you touched it--

 

 

 

Man: I know, I know. But maybe... maybe, it would have been just me, if I hadn't brought it with me when I went to save you--

 

 

 

Woman: But you did. Because it wanted you to. It wanted not just you, but me. And now...

 

 

 

Man: I hate to sound like a repeating record, but... I know. Of course, maybe this would have started regardless of that dagger. I've always had an incredible fascination with ancient Egypt...

 

 

 

Woman: [Smiles.] I hear you. The sands, the pyramids, the kings, queens, the architecture, the culture, the sheer history behind it all, oh, the-- [Without a moment's warning, she starts talking in Egyptian, and doesn't seem to even realize it.]

 

 

 

Man: Shiera!

 

 

 

Shiera: [Immediately at hearing the man call her name, her eyes go wide, and she puts a hand to her lips as she stops herself.] ...I... Was that--

 

 

 

Man: The first time I've ever heard you speak Egyptian so fluidly, that's for sure.

 

 

 

Shiera: [Her head then slowly lowers; she doesn't quite cry, but her eyes still mist up.] Oh, Carter... how did this happen? I just want to be me; I want to have all my old likes, dislikes, personality, memories – I mean, that last one is still there, but I have all of these other memories starting to pop into my head too – I just want to be the old Shiera again! And yet... I have a feeling that, some day, I won't want to be the old Shiera...

 

 

 

Carter: [Holds her.] I know, honey; I know. ...Actually, now that I think of it...

 

 

 

Shiera: Hm?

 

 

 

Carter: I've heard of another crimefighter; calls himself the Scarab. I don't know much about him, except...

 

 

 

Shiera: Yeeeeeeeess?

 

 

 

Carter: Well, it seems that he's got a striking Egyptian theme going for him. It might be nothing, but at this point, I'm willing to take what we can get. I'm not exactly sure just how or where he operates, however...

 

 

 

Shiera: That could be a problem...

 

 

 

Carter: You betcha'... [He steps out of bed and turns on the radio, perhaps trying to soften the heavy mood of their current conversation...]

 

 

 

Radio: And yes, it seems that while there was some damage caused by the attack of the blue giant known only as Merrano, it was mostly minimal! For that, you can thank our brave and bold stalwart of truth, justice, and the american way, Captain America, and his loyal band of fellow Superheroes and Mysterymen that single-handily brought Merrano crumbling down! It also seems that Namor, who also attacked our fair New York City only a short 9 months ago, helped in defeating this new menace! Does this mean he's come over to the side of the angels, or is he perhaps plotting our untimely demise from within? In any case, it seems that our new group of heroes have all gathered at a rather luxurious estate, and every reporter in New York who's worth their salt is waiting right outside; waiting for the heroes to step outside and give their firsthand take of the whole story.!There was certainly news when a red&blue blur whirred out of the building only minutes ago, but so far, there has been no more news on--!

 

 

 

Carter: [Turns off the radio.] Well, well. Seems to me there's something of a party going on...

 

 

 

Shiera: [Smiles] Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

 

 

 

Carter: Maybe. It'd make sense for all of these 'heroes' to gather up, to get together and fight in the bloodiest, and perhaps most important war in human history. And somehow, I get the feeling I know this personally, as a fact. ...And there's also a chance the Scarab will show up...

 

 

 

Shiera: Eh; even if he doesn't show up, you were probably going to get drafted at some point or another; we might as well just get this over with here and now.

 

 

 

Carter: ...You understand that, if you come with me, there's a chance you might find yourself caught up in this war as well?

 

 

 

Shiera: Darling, I'm ashamed that you had to ask. If I had a choice, I'd fly right into Europe, or the Pacific, or wherever, so long as that's where you're heading! And now, lover, it seems that I just might be able to do so after all...

 

 

 

[She then leaps straight out of bed and gives Carter a long, intense kiss; he doesn't stop her. And after they're done...]

 

 

 

Carter: You know, most people this day and age would call such behavior incredibly immodest...

 

 

 

Shiera: Yes, well, it's times like these that, maybe, I'm glad I'm not quite the same Shiera; modesty isn't such a big deal to me anymore, you know...

 

 

 

Carter: [Smiles] I've got a feeling that's the reincarnation talking...

 

 

 

Shiera: Oh, shut up... [She kisses him again, and the two fall into a passionate, loving embrace...]

 

Chapter Text

                                                                                   Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens in the nighttime hours atop an apartment in the infamous city of Cleveland. Standing atop the apartment is a man wearing red spandex boots, a large, odd belt-like contraption colored brown that goes from the waist up to the middle-chest area with two buckles, two brown spandex-gauntlets around his wrists, a yellow spandex suit that goes from the neck&shoulders to the waist, is partly covered by the belt-like contraption, and has an opening on the inner breasts, and finally, a blue mask over his head that is attached to a long blue cape that goes just past his shins. Twp white eyepieces cover his eyes. He is brawny, but somewhat short, measuring up to about 5 inches, if not a tad shorter. He looks down at the street below, looking for any sort of crime being committed; any sort of trouble he can get himself involved in to get his mind off of his own personal troubles...]

 

Al: [Talking quietly to himself] Look at that, Al. 'All's quiet on the front', guess you could say. Nothin' much happenin', either way you look at it. You'd think that'd be a good thing. But not for me. If I don't get somethin' – somethin' to sink my teeth into – now, and soon... well, I won't jump. I'm not that desperate that I'd risk spreading my atoms all over the pavement, hoping that, maybe, something would happen, and I'd be more than... [Spreads his arms wide open and looks down at himself] than this. The thing is, I shouldn't be feeling like such a sadsack; I used to be nothing more then a little runt; a 4'ft bag of bones. Now, [flexes his muscles] you'd think that wouldn't be a problem. But ever since I got into this business... Hm?

 

[Suddenly, right down and across the street, a commotion can be heard from a bank.] Must be my lucky day! [He then leaps off the building, but just as he approaches the ground, rolls to avoid impact. His strong body relatively uninjured, he rushes to the scene, only to hear someone call out--]

 

???: Hey, you wanna' get everyone killed?!

 

[Standing outside the bank, out of sight from the windows, is a man dressed in white baggy pants, black boots, white gloves, and a blue shirt with a large black 'atom' signature sewn upon it. He is also wearing a red belt, with a yellow filled-in circle on the front; a black atom signature can also be seen upon it. On either side of his belt is a red holster, carrying some sort of firearm. The man is middle-aged, in his early 40's; his hair is still mostly brown, but there are signs of graying scattered throughout it.]

 

Middle-aged Man: Hey, I'm talking to you!

 

Al: [Rushes over to the man, before getting a good look at his atom signatures.] Hey, are you tryin' to steal my gig?!

 

Middle-aged Man: Hey buddy, I don't think this is really  the time or place for to be chatting about the rights to Superhero shticks! We can talk later. Now, why don't you just... wait here, while I--

 

Al: Hey! I got wind of this first, so--!

 

Middle-age Man: Again, NOT the time!

 

Al: [After a moment, relents and scratches the back of his head.] You're right, you're right...

 

Middle-age Man: ...What can you do exactly?

 

Al: Well, I can really knock your socks off in the gym, but I've also got a mean right hook--

 

Middle-aged Man: And not much else? Figures. Right; you just sit tight, while I--

 

Al: Oh, come on!

 

Middle-aged Man: Look, we're wasting precious time, and – Saaaaaaaay...! [A sly smirk begins to creep upon on his face, as he slowly begins to eye over Al.] Tell me; ever heard the word 'distraction?'

 

Al: ...Uh, hello, who hasn't-- oh no..

 

Middle-aged Man: Oh yes. You wanted to be part of this? Well, now's your chance. Just keep them busy while I get in my own way...

 

[We cut to inside the bank, one minute later. All civilians are crouched on the ground with their hands over their heads except for the bank tellers, who are busy being confronted by 3 men in suits, each holding a pistol.]

 

Man in Suit: Now, you gonna' hand over the dough like we's say, or--

 

Al: HOLD IT!

 

[The men in suits whirl around, now seeing the short man in gaudy clothes before them.]

 

Man in Suit. ...Whadda' you want, ya' little runt?

 

Al: ...Excuse me?

 

Man in Suit: You heard me... [Nonchalantly aims his pistol at Al.] ...you little pipsqueak; whatcha' doin' here?

 

Al: Say... that... again.

 

Man in Suit: P-I-P-S-Q-U-E-A-K--

 

Al: That does it!

 

[Al then charges right into the leading man, taking him completely by surprise; at the same time, the middle-aged man is somehow walking straight through the wall on the right, almost as if he's 'phasing'; he's pressing the atom signature on his belt, and as soon as he's through the wall, he lets it go, and whips out the strange red, blue&yellow guns from his holsters, just as the other men in suits start to reach for their own weapons. He fires a white, shining ray from each gun at one of the two crooks not currently being tackled by Al, and each crook finds themselves floating to the ceiling, dropping their guns as they do so. Al, having forced the gun of the man he's tackling out of his hand, starts beating him to a bloody pulp, before the middle-aged man grabs Al's wrist, saying--]

 

Middle-aged Man: HEY! He's had enough.

 

Al: [Look at both Jet, and the man for a while, before calming himself down.] Yeah... yeah, you're right. I just... get kind of ticked off when people go callin' me short.

 

Middle-aged Man: Well, for what it's worth, I think you did your part here today. Course, maybe I could have done it by myself, but--

 

Al: [Gives a the middle-aged man a death glare.]

 

Middle-aged Man: ...But, it... just wouldn't have been the same without you.

 

Al: Gee, thanks, I feel so loved.

 

Middle-aged Man: Seriously though... you're not so bad. Name's Jet. Jet Powers.

 

Al: ...That your real name, or--

 

Middle-aged: Well, in case you haven't guessed, I chose the name to begin with because I didn't much care for full-bown 'Secret Identities' in the first place. Real name's Jet Palmer, 'case you wanted to know.

 

Al: ...Well, I'm not so inclined to just give my secret identity away with all these people here, so... you can just call me the Atom.

 

Jet. Ah. Now I get why you were accusing me of 'stepping on your gig.'

 

Altom Yeah; sorry about that. [Looks up towards the ceiling] Say, those guys up there--

 

Jet: Oh, they'll be fine. The effects should wear off in about ten minutes or so.

 

Atom: ...So, those hand-made, or--

 

Jet: You got it. I'm something of a scientist, or inventor; I'm starting to get attention in the right circles, but some of my theories are... well, let's just say that some of the scientific community's found me to be the greatest source of joy and laughter in ages.

 

Atom: Really?  Well, you seem like a swell guy; swell enough, anyways. It can't be that far-fetched--

 

Jet: Life in outerspace.

 

Atom: ...Come again?

 

Jet: Life. In. Outer. Space.

 

[After a moment, the Atom tries to keep a straight face, but he can't help but chortle. Some of the civilians within the bank begin to do the same.]

 

Jet: Hey, you're the one who asked...

Atom: Sorry, sorry! It's just... I mean, sure, the whole nation went nuts just some years ago when War of the Worlds first came on, but we learned it was all just some stunt real quick. ...Well, okay, maybe not that quick, but still. It's just... you really expect us to just believe it like that? Maybe if some... I don't know, some kid got sent here in some rocketship and dressed up in red&blue tights, but... ah, come on!

 

Jet: Yeah, well, I just think there's a higher chance of... of something existing out there than some people realize. Ever since I, ironically enough, read War of the Worlds--

 

[Atom starts snorting again.]

 

Jet: ...Ever since I read that book when I was a kid, I've been fascinated by the possibility of-- of extraterrestrial life! And one day, I plan to go out there and find it.

 

Atom: Well, good luck to ya'. While you're off doin' that, I think I'll--

 

[Just then, a red&blue blur, with various other colors mixed in, rushes into the bank, before slowing to a stop, revealing itself to be The Flash, Human Torch, Hourman, the Black Widow, and Dr.Nemesis.]

 

Flash: Are you Jet Powers?

 

Jet: ...Yeeeeeees, but--

 

Flash: Right. Sorry, but I'm gonna' have to ask you to come with us. We need some scientific experts on hand ASAP, and you're not just that, but a Superhero besides, according to this junk I've got crammed into my noggin. I'd be far more tact about this, but I've got this nut in the white surgeon's mask who I'm starting to think might need an operation himself...

 

Dr.Nemesis: The only operation that needs commencing, my good sir, is that of cutting out the foul blemish upon our very way of life known as the Nazi people of Axisland! What else does one need to know?!

 

Jet Powers: ...I see what you mean. Well, I figured something like this might happen someday. Uh, not the crazie who looks he  should see a surgeon himself, no. I really only got into the business to try to promote both my tech and myself, but I'm still in this business nonetheless. ...And I've also got someone right next to me that I think you'd be glad to have.

 

Atom: [Looks around briefly before pointing at himself in disbelief.] ...Me? But--

 

Jet Powers: Doesn't matter if you don't have any powers. You're strong, determined, and you come through in a pinch. Your... temper needs some work, but I think you're got what it takes.

 

Atom: ...Huh.

 

Flash: Look, right now, I just want to get the nut here back home and fast. Just grab hold of your friend there, and I'll do the rest.

 

Jet Powers: ...Strange request, but if you insist... [Does so--]

 

Atom: HEY!

 

[--and in less then a second, the Flash and everyone else speed off...]

Chapter Text

                                                                                    Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens in a slick limousine cruising down the roads of Washington DC. In the back seat is a tired old man dressed in a green button-downed suit, and in the front is a middle-aged chauffeur, bald and clean-shaven. Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary, until, that is, the limousine makes an odd turn...]

 

Old man: [Looking out of of the windows, seeming somewhat confused.] Uh, Sam? You do realize that this isn't the usual way back home, right? I mean, I'm pretty darn sure the roads aren't closed, or at least none of the ones that we take--

 

?Sam?: [Has just the slightest, barely noticeable accent} Call it a detour, Mister Senator...

 

Old man: ...Sam?

 

?Sam?: Yes, sir?

 

Old man: ...Sam hasn't called me 'Sir' in years. He knows me, and I know him. He always calls me by my first name. Now, who in the world are you?!

 

?Sam?: [The 'chauffeur's' slightly noticeable accent now becomes incredibly thick, and obviously Germanic.] Just a humble servant of his country, Herr Senator.

 

Senator: What do you want?!

 

?Sam?: Oh, not much. A document here, some information vere; in short, ve wish to know vatever you know.

 

Senator: ...Judging by your ridiculous accent, I think I can guess who 'we' is...

 

?Sam?: But of course! Now, if you vouldn't mind simply complying to our demands... or else, I vould have to stop the car, and if I have to stop the car, I vill have one hand free, and if I have one hand free, vell, then there would be nothing stopping me from reaching into my pocket and reaching for my Luger, would there?

 

Senator: [Suddenly, the Senator's entire demeanor changes. He somehow becomes younger, stronger, and more determined, and when he speaks, his voice is that of an altogether different man.] Actually, I think there might be...

 

?Sam?: ...Vhat? ['Sam', noticing the change in voice, pulls the car over onto the side of the road, turns around, and whips out his Luger.] ...Something is... different about you now...

 

?Senator?: You'd be right; in fact, the kids back at home always did say something was a tad strange about me...

 

[The 'Senator' pulls off his 'face', revealing it to be a mask. In the mask's place is the face of a man just approaching middle-age, in his late 30's or so, with a creased brow, pushed-back black hair, a jaw like a small lantern, and an expression that's just a tad dull.]

 

?Sam?: ...Who are you?! And how you did take the place of the Senator?!

 

???: Oh, it wasn't really that hard; pretty simple, actually. You see, there's actually been a few attempts to kidnap the Senator before; it's just that they'd always been put to a halt before they ever really got off the ground.

 

?Sam?: ...By you, I suppose?

 

???: I suppose you could say that. And this time, well... by now, I was able to figure out just when the next attack would be. So, I spoke to the Senator, and even though he can be a hard man at times, he had enough sense to listen to reason.

 

?Sam?: ...In regards to taking his place, I suppose?

 

???: Huh; you're smarter then you look. But yes; got it right the first time. Now, would I be correct in assuming that you're the leader of all of these attempted operations?

 

Leader: ...Uh--

 

???: And that you finally thought to yourself some Germanic equivalent of 'If you want something done right, do it yourself', and decided to take to the stage?

 

Leader:... Uh, ahem...

 

???: And that by taking you out, I'll finally be stopping all of these attacks on the Senator once and for all?

 

Leader: …

 

???: Now before I do send you to prison, and in doing so, end your reign of would-be terror, would you mind telling me why you've been after the Senator all this time?

 

Leader: Uh, well... He has... important documents--!

 

???: [Sighs.] Figures. All you have is a harebrained assumption, and you act on it regardless of the illogicality of it all. Well, I guess it's time to put an end to this--

 

Newcomer: YOOHOO!

 

???: ...'Yoohoo?'

 

[Suddenly, both parties are shocked and stunned when the right doors of the limousine are suddenly torn straight off their hinges, and thrown headlong into the air. The man responsible and standing right outside is clad in red spandex from neck to toe, blue gloves boots and underwear, and a black mask that covers all of the head except for the face from his chin to his nose; the mask is also attached to a long black cape that goes just above the ankles, and has two eyeholes to see out of.. On the upper chest is a blue filled-in circle with a white star sewn upon it, and upon that, there is a filled-in red circle. A similar, smaller insignia be seen upon the forehead of the mask. But perhaps most striking of all is the crazed, wild grin practically plastered onto the newcomer's face. In the midst of this new, possibly insane hero, the 'chauffeur' quickly lowers his Lugger out of sight.

 

Newcomer: Hey there! Name's American Crusader folks, and I just couldn't help but notice a limousine of all things stuck on the side of the road. You don't see that too often. Seemed preeeeeetty fishy to me...!

 

Leader: ...'Fishy?'

 

???: Believe me, I'm as lost as you are. [Turns his neck to face the American Crusader.] Uh, hello, good sir. Seeing as you yourself seem to be a fellow crimefighter--

 

American Crusader: 'Fellow crimefighter'?

 

???: Uh, yes. Looking at my current attire, or even my 'costume' if you ever get a chance to see it, you may be hard pressed to believe it, but I'm really a 'Superhero' – I guess you can call me that – known as Doc Strange. I don't much bother to keep a Secret Identity; just seems like a waste of time to me.

 

American Crusader: Ah, yes. I've believe I've heard of you. Super-strength, really tough, flies around a lot, one of the smartest men in the country?

 

Doc Strange: That would be me...

 

American Crusader: Don't buy it. Someone like Doc Strange wouldn't just be sitting in some car on the side of the road with some... some.. [Looks at the Nazi spy.] Who are you again?

 

Leader: [His nearly American accent suddenly returning, the spy tries to put on the charm.] Uh, ahem; my nam'e's Sam, chauffeur of the--

 

Doc Strange: Oh, don't you start...

 

American Crusader: Start what?

 

Doc Strange: I'm not positive, but I believe that there was a 99.9 chance that this man was going to attempt to spin a story about how he's really a chauffeur, and how I'm really a Senator--

 

American Crusader: Well, aren't you? I mean, you both certainly look your parts...

 

Doc Strange: I'm afraid that's where you're most mistaken; you see--

 

Leader: No, wait; this man... he LIES!

 

Doc Strange: Right; look, why don't you--

 

American Crusader: Now waitaminute, buster, I wanna' hear this...

 

Leader: He's lyin', if I ain't a monkey's uncle! I was just trying to drive the Senator home, except he wasn't really the Senator! He was a Nazi spy, trying to get me to tell him where the real Senator was, and--

 

Doc Strange: Right, that's enough of that... [He reaches over and rips the Lugger straight out of 'Sam's' hand]

 

Leader: HEY!

 

Doc Strange: [Looks back at American Crusader] Do you see this?

 

American Crusader: ...Yeeeeeeess...

 

Doc Strange: And did you see where I pulled it from?

 

American Crusader: ...Yeeeeeeess...

 

Doc Strange: So who are you going to believe?

 

American Crusader: ...Whoever didn't first have the gun?

 

Doc Strange: Goooooooood. Now, why don't we--

 

American Crusader: DON'T PATRONIZE ME!

 

Doc Strange: ...Excuse me?

 

American Crusader: You heard me! All my life, I've been looked down on, for not being strong enough, or smart enough, or brave enough! But now, I'm more then ANY of that, and any of YOU! ...So don't treat me like I'm not; like some bozo...

 

Doc Strange: ...You did tear off the all the doors...

 

American Crusader: [Starts calming himself down] ...I can't really say anything against that one. Sorry about that, really; I just... when I'm in this suit, when I'm using my powers, even just cruising over the skyline... I can get kind of... crazy. Only I don't always see that until all's said and done...

 

Doc Strange: Well, so long as you're willing to compensate; I mean, it was the real Senator's private property...

 

American Crusader: ...That could be a problem--

 

[Suddenly, the leader bolts out of the nearest left door, scared and horrified at the crazy man in the blue underwear who could rip him a new one at any moment-- but before he can get away, a black, red and blue blur zips ahead, straight in front of him.]

 

American Crusader: [Arms folded, with a more subdued grin] Going somewhere?

 

[The leader tries to run in the other direction, but Doc Strange has followed him through the left door, and is now standing right behind him, arms crossed as well.

 

Doc Strange: Friend, I suggest you strongly reconsider your current course of action...

 

[Before the leader can so much as utter a syllable, a red&blue blur, mixed with other colors, arrives onto the scene; The Flash, Black Widow, Human Torch, Hourman, Dr.Nemesis, Atom, and Jet Powers. As soon as they arrive; the Widow points at the leader, and darts straight at him, but the Flash grabs her in midair before she can reach him.]

 

Widow: VENGEANCE MUST BE SERVED!

 

Flash: Not in this show it ain't! Someone hold her, huh?!

 

Atom: I'll do it... [Relieved, the Flash hurls her back at the Atom, who does his best to keep her contained.] Stop... struggling, you dumb broad!

 

Hourman: Strange...

 

Doc Strange: You called?

 

Hourman: Hm? [Looks at Doc Strange.] Oh, ahem, sorry; is that truly your name?

 

Doc Strange: After a fashion. And might I ask what all of you are doing here, with such a... colorful woman in your ranks?

 

Flash: Doc Strange? Right; I'd be more tact, but I think it's best that the we get out of here and fast. [Gestures towards the Black Widow, as well as towards Dr.Nemesis.] The short of it is that we've got some... technical trouble on our hands, and we need the best and brightest to figure it all out, and apparently, you're one of 'em.

 

Doc Strange: Well, I don't like to brag, but--

 

Flash: Right. ...Who's the fella' who looks like he walked out his underwear on the wrong day?

 

American Crusader: [Grinning like a loon once again.] Name's American Crusader, chum, but you can call me--

 

Doc Strange: Uh, Flash, is it? If it's alright with you, I'd to bring this fine fellow along. There are some tests on him I would like to conduct, and--

 

American Crusader: 'Tests?' Who said anything about tests?

 

Doc Strange: And we also need to drag this piece of garbage-- [points to the leader] --over to the nearest police station while we're at it.

 

Flash: ...Okay, fine. Just one more thing to deal with...

 

[And so, everyone ends up zipping off, including the hapless leader. And one he is safely deposited at the nearest police station, the now large group finally heads off back to Excello's luxurious estate...

Chapter Text

                                                                              Scene 1

 

[Standing on a rooftop in New York City, just several blocks away from Excello's mansion, is a man dressed in red tights below the waist, brown boots with yellow tops, brown gloves, yellow bracelets, a large two-strap brown belt around the torso, a circular yellow neck-piece from just above the shoulders to the neck, and a brown cap atop the head like that of an aviator, complete with yellow goggles. His chest, however, is bare. He is currently holding his right thumb and the nearest finger to that on his right lens, looking intently at the mansion of Excello. There is a water-tower colored red next to the man, with black&yellow supports. He then looks around, as if waiting for something, or someone. He folds his arms, and drums his left fingers on his right forearm as if being somewhat impatient. Finally, he makes as if to leave, until--

 

???: Hey, hold it, son!

 

[Calling out from behind is the rough, deep baritone of a large, middle-aged man. The man in the aviator's cap then slowly turns around, and views the new arrival with an air of caution. He is tall at 7'1 ft, and is fairly brawny. He wears blue dress-pants and black dress-shoes, but his upper body is completely uncovered. The man himself is, as the voice implied, middle-aged, in his early 50's, with lines already beginning to show across his face and brow, but he's just as fit, if not more so, than a man half his age. His eyelids are nearly constantly lowered, and his smile is low and relaxed. He holds out a hand, as if expecting to get a shake.]

 

???: Name's Pat Dempsey, though I guess you can also call me 'Man O' Metal'.

 

Man in Red Tights: ...Man O' Metal?

 

Man O' Metal: Hey, don't ask me, I just does what they tells me, is all.

 

Man in Red Tights: ...'They?'

 

Man O' Metal: Um, hello, the FBI? I figured that's why you're here too, ain't it?

 

Man in Red Tights: ...You must be one of the contacts I'm supposed to meet...

 

Man O' Metal: I guess. Kind o' weird though, if you ask me. We're off doing God knows what – sorry God – and then we're called straight out of the blue to, what, join this new gaggle of heroes? And don't get me wrong, I'm happy they gave me a job instead of sending me off to some freak show, 'specially at my age, but-- oh, codeword's 'Caveman', by the way; can't believe I forgot that...

 

Man in Red Tights: You never stop talking, do you? Still... [Cracks a smile] ...you're not that bad. [Shakes the Man O' Metal's hand.] Name's Hydro; used to call myself Hydro Man, but I think that's just kind of redundant, really.

 

Man O' Metal: Yeah, I hear ya', I hear ya.' Still, fer me personally, 'Man O' Metal' does have a nice ring to it. ...Hey now; I could be mistaken here, but wasn't there suppose ta' be one more contact or another?

 

Hydro: Come to think of it, yeah; I think there was. Guess we'll just wait a bit here before heading in. ...If he ever bothers to show up... [Impatient, he decides to change the subject.] So, what's a fine man like yourself doing walking around shirtless on a chilly night like this?

 

Man O' Metal: Eh, cold never really bothered me much, though honestly, I could say the same 'bout you. Still, if I ever get cold,I just light a match or lighter and-- well, I guess I can just show ya'...

 

Hydro: ...What do you--

 

[Man O' Metal then takes a lighter out of his pocket, opens it, puts it right beneath his other thumb, and lights it.]

 

Hydro: What in the hell--!

 

[Before Hydro can make another move, Man O' Metal doesn't seem to feel any pain at all. Instead, his body undergoes a complete transformation; from head to toe, even his hair becomes hard steel; he changes completely into a true, literal 'Man O Metal.' But that's not all; small flames spread across his upper body, essentially making the 'Man O' Metal' the walking&talking equivalent of an ironworks.]

 

Hydro: ...Now that's not something you see every day.

 

Man O' Metal: Got that right. Any time I get blasted with enough heat, I turn into this thing. I don't need to eat, breath, sleep or nothin' like that, though as you can guess, bein' a flaming Man O' Metal ain't exactly convenient.

 

Hydro: Then how do you--

 

Man O' Metal: Turn it off? Normally, I just gotta' concentrate real darn hard; make it so I can't 'feel' the heat. Course, I never feel the heat, or much anythin' at all when I'm like this, but I think you get what I mean.

 

[Hydro says nothing for a moment, before suddenly turning himself into a spiraling twister of water, before turning back to human form.]

 

Man O' Metal: ...I got nuthin'.

 

Hydro: That's me in a nutshell. I can turn myself into, well, water, and from there, I can do just about anything I can think of.

 

Man O' Metal: Okay, okay, yeah, I getcha', but, ah, well...

 

Hydro: 'Well' what?

 

Man O' Metal: Well... how do ya' see?

 

Hydro: ...Ah. You know, I'd never really thought of that. I can suppose I can just 'feel' my surroundings around me, though I've never been sure just how it all works.

 

Man O' Metal: Huh. Well, let me be the first ta' say; that's some pretty swingin' shit you've got there! ...So, how'd ya get ta' be able ta' do... well, that? I mean, do ya' think I was always like this? That I was born like this? [Grins] Now that's just a load of bull right there!

 

Hydro: ...Normally, this sort of thing would be classified information, but apparently, anyone working with me on this particular assignment is free to know. So--

 

???: OH! OH! Is pappy Hydro gonna' tell us a story?!

 

Man O' Metal: What in--!

 

[Strangely enough, the voice seems to be coming from the water-tower; right as they turn around; it shifts, shapes, and contorts it's very shape, forming itself into a man. He is wearing no pants; instead, he wears a red costume that goes from the lower-area all the way up to the shoulders, with a large swath of upper-area being left uncovered like a vest. It also covers his arms, but his hands are free; he also wears a black belt around his torso with two yellow lines circling it around the top&bottom, with a large yellow rhombus in the center. His feet are shaped like pointed shoes, his black hair is slicked back with a tuft of hair sticking out, and he wears white-framed goggles with black lens over his eyes. He also happens to be smiling like a loon.]

 

???: Come on, pappy Hydro, tell us a story!

 

Hydro: Now this one, I know of. Unfortunately. Plastic Man, I presume?

 

Plastic Man: Yes indeedy, yours truly, the one, the only-- [Briefly shifts himself into a vertical line of letters spelling out his name that's 60 ft' high] --PLASTIC MAN! [Shifts himself right back to normal.] Moneybacknotguaranteed.

 

Man O' Metal: ...If I didn't know any better, I'd say this screwball should be locked up in some nuthouse...

 

Hydro: You and me both...

 

Plastic Man: Oh, come on, buddies! Is this the way to treat the FBI's most trusted agent?

 

Hydro: 'Most Trusted' isn't exactly what I've heard about concerning you. And we're all FBI, 'case you didn't know...

 

Plastic Man: Really? News to me! ...Well, okay, not really, but you know what I mean!

 

Hydro: Not really, no. And now that we're all here, we should get moving...

 

Man O' Metal: So, just to clarify: we were all supposed ta' meet here, and then, head on over ta' that spiffy mansion over yonder that ya' only wish you could live in? And then try and join up with the other heroes, right?

 

Hydro: That's the plan. Get in the ranks, and then relay what we find to the FBI every so often. The FBI isn't so keen on a large group of heroes getting together and going out of country to do who-knows-what, even if it is to fight a war. Personally, I'd have to agree. According to their intel, it's technically operated under the military, but in pratice, it seems that the heroes get a degree of free reign. Now, orders are orders, and I'd follow them anyway, but... even if they weren't official orders... something just doesn't sit right with me. There's too much we don't know, and the only way to find that out is to head in. ...Still, Plastic Man does have a point...

 

Plastic Man: Is pappy Hydro gonna' tell us a story?!

 

Hydro: ...Yes; Mr.Hydro is 'gonna tell us a story.' And so are the rest of you.

 

Man O' Metal: Huh?

 

Plastic Man: [His smile instantly changes into a frown.] Come again?

 

Hydro: Come to think of it, we don't really know too much about each other; if this operation is going to suceed as smoothly as it can, then we need to know at least the essentials of our backgrounds; namely, our real names, and how we got our powers in the first place. And since I'm the one who brought this up, I'll start it. ...My real name is Bob Blake. Prior to that, I'd been working on an investigation involving a group of 'Oriential Invaders', as they were called. But I'd also been keeping in touch with one Harry Thurston; his father knew my father, so we'd been friends ever since we were boys. He'd been working on a new experimental fuel source, but... it didn't turn out quite as he suspected. He got some of it on his hand by accident, and, well...

 

Plastic Man: [Morphs his head into a flesh-colored waterspout] Trickled down the drain, huh

 

Hydro: ...Yes, actually, though it never went down any drain. His hand was now a running source of water, coming straight from his arm. He was in such hysteria that he called me over ASAP, though by the time I got there, he and his assistants managed to come up with an antidote. ...Unfortunately, they also had more of the chemical, and the assistant responsible for carrying it tripped on a misplaced testtube, right in front of me, and--

 

Plastic Man: [Turns himself into a red, black, yellow, fleshy gooey puddle] Puddle central!

 

Hydro: ...You could say that, yes. But strangely enough, I still had my consciousness; I could still feel everything around me! I just wasn't able to change myself back. Thankfully, they managed to pour some of the antidote on me; from then on, I was able to control myself, even going so far as to be able to change back&forth between either my human or water forms. Now, under normal circumstances, I would have submitted myself for further testing; see if there's anything wrong, if I could just snap back into a puddle at any moment, or... anything else, really. But I didn't get the chance, as I soon got wrapped up in the investigation of the 'Oriental Invaders', as I told you earlier, which also happened to include a group of 5th columnists; in other words, American turncoats.

 

PlasticMan: [Is back to normal, and raises a ridiculously inflated fist]  The fithy traitors, I oughtta' moider' them--!

 

Hydro: But, I managed to take 'em down; soon after, I ended up 'graduating' to the FBI, and, well, here we are.

 

 

Man O' Metal: Yeah, well, as for how I got this way, that's a bit... different. I'd been workin' at a foundry for... oh, I don't know; decades, I guess. I'd actually tried to be somethin' else for a while. I had this sweet doll, and she and me... we were somethin' special. But I'd grown up poor with a deadbeat dad and a mother who spent most of her nights over at 'Big Jim's'; I didn't wanna' marry until I knew I was in a position ta' support her, and any little tykes we might have. I didn't want none o' my kids ta' end up like me. ...But I never had the money ta' get into no college, and no-one else would hire me but for hard-workin', manual labor jobs. Lookin' back on it, I think she never really cared whether was I rich, poor, or anything in between, but I guess I just didn't see it that way back when; after a while, she just up and took a plane out west. Never saw her again. ...'The ignorance of youth'...

 

Man O' Metal: 'Course, by the time I was 50, I thought my life was pretty much said and done. ...'Till I got covered with molten metal and lived ta' tell the tale--

 

Plastic Man: [His eyes practically pop out of his skull like a Looney Tune.] HOLEY MOLEY! GREAT JESHOPOTHES! HOLY SHI--

 

Man O' Metal: You wanna' flamin' hand o' metal up where the sun don't shine?

 

Plastic Man: Well, considering I can change that little ol' place to pretty much wherever I please...

 

Man O' Metal: Ferget it. ...So, there I was in the one o' the worst incidents at the foundy I was workin' at that, and me, well, I got turned inta' what I am now. Don't know how I'm still alive, but more'n that, I became somethin' more. Now, you'd think they'd want to prop me up for study or whatever, or interrogate me for 'The News Story of the Century', or somethin' like that; instead, I somehow ended up workin' for the FBI, and so far, that's where I stand.

 

Plastic Man: Yep; you're standing, Hydro's standing, we're all standing! Now, why don't we head on over to--

 

Hydro: Plastic Man.

 

Plastic Man: ...Yeeeeeeeeeees?

 

Hydro: You still haven't told us your story?

 

Plastic Man: ...Well, not exactly, no--

 

Hydro: [Cracks a small grin] Come on; weren't you the one who insisted on 'story time with Pappy Hydro'?

 

Plastic Man: Hey, I was just--

 

Hydro: I'm just making sure you aren't being hypocritical, or anything of the sort.

 

Plastic Man: …

 

Hydro: ...Course, if there wasn't any harm in telling us, you wouldn't be keeping your mouth shut just now, would you?

 

Man O' Metal: Hey pal, knock it off! If he don't wanna' talk 'bout it, he don't wanna' talk 'bout it!

 

Hydro: Except he has to talk about it. I'm the commander of this operation, and I'm now ordering him to spill. I didn't receive information on you two beforehand because I was expected to hear it from the source. And that's what I still expect to hear now.

 

Plastic Man: [His formerly wacky demeanor has altered completely into a rather serious one.] Look waterboy, some stones are better left unturned, ya' understand me? [He then shifts into a 6'ft red,black,yellow&skin-colored plane, and flies off towards the mansion...]

 

Hydro: Great. ...If I were an idiot, I'd turn into a wave and go after him, but that would just cause too much attention; that, we don't want.

 

Man O' Metal: Hey, buddy; I'm sure he'll tell us in his own time...

 

Hydro: Except his time is my time. ...I guess we'll just have to get it out of him at the next available opportunity...

 

[And so, both Hydro and Man O' Metal both go back into the door behind them, as they begin to head to their next destination...

Chapter Text

The Golden Age

Chapter 19

 

Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens right outside of Excello's mansion. Excello himself is standing in front of the large dual-doors with his arms crossed, as he taps his foot as if someone is late for a very important date. And no sooner than stamping his foot for the 50th time does a whirl of colors suddenly blast into the courtyard, stopping right in front of Excello, who simply curls his lips into a small smile, and says--]

 

Excello: You've arrived. Finally...

 

[Now completely halted, the former whirl of colors is revealed to be none other than the Human Torch, Hourman, The Black Widow, Dr.Nemesis, The Atom, Jet Powers, Doc Strange, the American Crusader, and the man responsible for this gaggle of heroes, the Flash.)

 

Flash: [Smiles] Hey, nobody's perfect. ...So, here's our three eggheads, and a couple of others besides. We've got Jet Powers here...

 

Jet Powers: Nice place you got here; I think it deserves a little looking into...

 

Excello: [Laughs briefly.] Only over my dead body.

 

Jet Powers: ...Indeed.

 

Flash: Uh, ahem. This here's the Atom; picked him up with Mr.Powers here...

 

[With everything finally slowing down, the Atom takes a look at his surroundings, including the vaunted heroes beside him.  He remembers the high-speed trip that brought him from Cleveland to... to wherever this is; how everything around them seemed to be moving at incredibly slow speeds, and how they just kept running and running for what seemed like hours on end, and yet, never once felt the need to stop. And he realizes that the man in red&blue with the giant lightningbolt on his chest is responsible. And he can't help but think to himself: what is he, compared to that?

 

Excello: ...I sense that one among our number is wallowing in misery and self-pity, but I know not who...

 

Flash: Uh, right. We've also got Doc Strange here...

 

Strange: [Looking as impeccably calm as ever] Charmed.

 

Flash: And we've also got... was it the Atomic Crusader, or the American--

 

American Crusader: American Crusader, Speedy, and don't you forget it! Yes, that's me; American Crusader, protector of the innocent and liberator of the oppressed! And I hear there's plenty of oppressed, miserable people over in big ol' Nazi Germany, yes sir!

 

Excello: Yes, well, we might not be dealing with them just yet.

 

American Crusader: ...What?!

 

Excello: Yes; you'll know more soon enough, but suffice to say, we may have a more immediate enemy on our hands of a more... imperial nature, before we go charging off into Germany. Which, incidentally, is the home of my most favorite of opera-composers. '[Starts singing in a heavy baritone] Zurück vom Ring...!

 

 

Flash: Uh, yes, very nice, I'm sure. ...And lastly, we've someone I'm almost – just almost – convinced should be locked up in the looney-bin.

 

 

 

Dr.Nemesis: I'll let you know I resemble that remark!

 

 

 

Flash: ...I rest my case.

 

 

 

Excello: ...Hm. Well, I suppose we had better go off inside, and put some of you fine fellows to work. And perhaps take a closer look at the one with the surgeon's mask in due time. We've also taken the liberty of calling in another scientist& h ero that just happens to reside in our fine city of New York, in... Opal County, I believe.

 

 

 

Strange: Oh?

 

 

 

Excello: Yes; he goes by the title of Starman, as I recall. Of course, perhaps even just one of you lot could discover the mystery behind our current conundrum, but I highly suspect that we shall need all technological and theological might we can muster for the days to come. ...Oh, and there is one other thing... [He turns his head, and looks intently at the Black Widow.]

 

 

 

Flash: [Starts to grimace] Somehow, I don't like the way you're looki n' at her...

 

 

 

Excello: Oh, sorry; it's just that this rather concerns her. ...And you.

 

 

 

Flash: Come again?

 

 

 

Excello: Yes, and Dr.Midnight as well. You see, the Eternal Brain has taken quite the interest in our mutual friend. He shall tell you all of the details, but suffice to say , he 's called in a so-called expert on the occult; Doctor Occult, as it were. He wishes to avoid potential... problematic situations in the future, some of which I have foreseen, and some of those... well, they wouldn't exactly be suitable for younger children, at the least.

 

 

 

Widow: I-- I will... will see this... 'expert' for now. But...

 

 

 

Flash: Don't worry, kid; we'll get this all settled out--

 

 

 

Widow: Do not call me 'kid'! ... I tolerated the first instance of such an insult, but--!

 

 

 

Flash: Hey, no need to get so riled up! Nothing personal...

 

 

 

Excello: ...Well... shall we be off?

 

 

 

Scene 2

 

 

 

[Our scene opens back in the laboratory of Arim Zola. Zola himself is busy recording various notes in a small journal while standing in front of a long series of test tubes, separate from the embryo-filled ones seen last. Inside are fully grown human beings. They are mostly male, though there are a few females; r egardless of gender, all are tall with optimum athletic builds, and hair as if it were never cut – since it never was cut – but there is perhaps one detail most striking about these n ew creations; they are all distinctly Japanese. A book titled 'The Book of Five Rings', with the name ' Miyamoto Musashi ' on the front can be seen spread ed down on a nearby table. As for the notes that Zola is recording, they are in German, but if written in English, they might translate roughly to the following...

 

 

 

< ' As per Herr Dragon's specifications, the Tsunami Squad seems to be an unqualified success. Of course, breeding Japanese Superhumans within a facility on German soil could well be considered treason, but Herr Dragon has given me full assurance that he shall be able to have these new creations shipped to his location as soon as possible, with none of my official superiors the wiser. He shall give his new subjects any further education they may need, though on my part, I have done the best I could to instill within them the basic elements that Herr Dragon requested. And if this goes well, who knows? Perhaps this could usher in a new age for an Ayan supremacy the likes of which the world has never known. Though it is not as I could give so much as a damn. My work has always been the sole constant in my life; the one variable that will always remain, that I can forever depend on. Aryan ideals, or even those of the Japanese that Herr Dragon wishes to instil within these creations, I could not care less about. ...Still, he has given me that which I most desired; the samples of DNA which ensured that this project has even so much as passed the first step. And it is in one usch sample that all similar endeavors will rest upon. Most of the samples are rather unremarkable; ordinary Japanese, and nothing more. But it is that one sample which makes this project even possible; a sample that resists aging, cellular decay, and possess so much untapped energy that it is unbelievable! ...Except that, of course, for someone of my caliber, it is. Of course, I am the only one capable of bringing out it's full potential, or at least as far as Herr Dragon knows; that is why he did not simply carry out the task himself . I do not know where he attained this sample, but I think it is in my best interest not to ask too many questions. Of course, I can always wonder where it came from, how it came to be, -- it does seem to rather interestingly be of of caucasian heritage -- but asking Herr Dragon directly would be... problematic. F or now, I feel th at it is best to keep any thoughts on this matter t o myself, t hough in the end, only time will tell what this shall all bring...'>

 

 

 

A sharp, crushing sound then brings Zola out of his notes, and turns his now rapt attention to a tube right in front of him. It is a large, tall Japanese woman in her prime, a nd, as opposed to staying calm and asleep in her tube, she is quite the opposite; she is awake, she is aware, and she has entrenched her right fist within what is now fractured glass. And as Zola watches in astonishment, she pulls it out , and brings it forward one more time--!

 

The front of the tube shatters into pieces, as the strange fluid floods the floor; the woman spills out with it, and ends up sprawled frontside-down along the floor, her incredibly long, black hair covering her back from head to toe. She then slowly rises from the ground, quite literally; she floats into the air, almost as if not realizing just it she is doing, and manages to set herself straight&upright as her long front locks cover her breasts . Her narrow eyes then open wide as they pierce into those of Arim Zola, who can only watch in wonder. She begins to speak, but in Japanese. However, Zola is able to understand most of what she says...]

 

 

 

Woman: <Who... am I?>

 

 

 

Zola: <... You... are whatever your master wishes you to be.>

 

 

 

Woman: <My... master?>

 

 

Zola: <Yes, your master. He -- .>

 

 

 

Woman: <My master?>

 

 

[An ingenious thought beings to stir in Zola's head... ]

 

Zola: <...Your many brethren's master is someone else entirely , that is for certain. But you... your master... is me.>

 

 

 

Woman: [Slowly raises an arm and points a finger at Zola.] <You... Master? >

 

 

 

Zola: [Smirks] <Yes, I am your Master. Call me... Herr Zola...>

 

Chapter Text

Golden Age

Chapter 20

 

Scene 1

 

[Our scene opens within the small lab of a house. However, the lab is not filled with beakers and test tubes, like some labs tend to be. T his lab is filled to the brim with machinery, cogs, gears, and spare parts, as well as blueprints, designs, papers&pencils, and more. And right in the middle of the room is a large white table. Kneeling next to it, his arms draping over i i as if collapsed, is a man with a screwdriver in his right hand; he is practically exhausted, breathing heavily is if having just finished an incredibly arduous task . And laying upon the table is a sight to behold; a metallic construct of some sort, shaped like a man, though it's 'feet' are shaped like shoes, and it's lower area looks like it is covered by metallic underwear. The top of it's 'head', with bolts set in around it like a circle, seems to have just been screwed in.

The being lays there for a moment, before it slowly opens it's bright-red eyes, and glances at the world around him. It slowly sits up, holding its hand to its head as if trying to remember. ... r emember what? ... H is name. His name... Robert Crane, yes! His name was Robert Crane! What else, what else? Ah, yes; he and his assistant, Ch... Chu... Chuck! He and his assistant Chuck had been working on a new construct based off of the work of the late Professor Carmody, designed to not only preserve a brain after the body ceases to function, but to provide a new home for it; it would not only provide the basic functions of a human body, but would also be so much m ore stronger, faster, and more capable as well! ...And now that he looks down at himself, it occur to him ; he is in that body. And he again remembers; he remembers his original body, a body of flesh and blood. A body that could feel, and did feel, oh so much... How did this happen?! He tries to think back again, to the last few hours of his life...

He and Chuck... Chuck Grayson, that was it! He and Chuck had just completed the construct at long last. Well, for the most part; all they needed now was an actual brain to put the body into, which would, of course, be hard to come by. ...Excep t obviously, not as hard as they thought it would be. What else...?A break-in! That's right; some crooks managed to get wind of the experiment, and tried to snatch it for themselves. Looking back on it though, they obviously weren't that bright; they shot both him and his friend, leaving them both for dead, and tried to take the construct for their own gain . But in his last moments of life, he saw them realize that it was far too heavy to move it on it's own as they failed to figure out how to move it otherwise. In other words, they had broken into a house and killed an innocent man for absolutely no good reaosn ! N o good reason at all! …And those are the last things he remembers, up until now...

He looks to his right and sees the exhausted man. ...No, not just any man; Chuck! But, he was shot--! ...The construct then looks carefully at the man's shoe. There's a hole going right through it; a bullet hole! Chuck got pretty darn lucky , all things considered . And with that luck, he must have taken Robert's old brain, and...

The truth dawns on the construct. He rushes out of the lab and into the living room, hoping it isn't so... but it is. The door is busted open, just as if someone broke in, but far more importantly, his body... the former body of his brain is now nothing but a fresh corpse on the floor. His scalp seems to have been surgically removed, and his brain... his brain is nowhere to be seen. Except he knows where it is. He moves both of his strong, lifeless hands to his head, and knows where it is . He tries his best to vomit in horror and disgust, but he can't even manage that. And now, all he can do, in a monotonous, inhuman voice... is scream.

Chuck, still in the lab, bolts out of his rest, having awoken to sheer horror ...]

 

Chuck: ...What in Sam's Hill-- [He the notices right away that the construct – the very same construct that now houses Robert's brain – is gone. And he can still hear the scream, even as it begins to move further and further away...] Oh lord; Robert. [He limps as fast as he can to the living room, only to see a small table knocked to the ground in shambles, and the construct – no; Robert – nowhere to be seen. Nothing but his brainless corpse.

 

Chuck: ...My God. ...Oh, Robert; what have I done?

 

Scene 2

 

Dr.Midnight: I thought you were supposed to be figuring out what in Sam's Hill is wrong with her, not feeling the breeze...

 

[We are in a large, spacious room – a living room, presumably – of Excello's mansion; there is a hallway leading to other rooms and passageways on one side, and opposite from that at the other end of the room is a large roaring fireplace with a gold mantle above it. A portrait of an old man in a fine suit can be seen high above; he looks somewhat like Excello, but not quite the same. On either of the remaining two sides of the room are yet more large windows, even larger than the ones in the other halls&rooms of the house. Various lounge-chairs with red veldt are sat neatly along the sides of the room with the windows, except for 4 chairs which have been placed in a large circle in front of the fire, and within all but one sit the Flash, Dr.Midnight, and the Black Widow, with the Widow peering past all else into the tall, searing flames as if in a trance; as if she sees something within that no-one else can; all but the sole figure who is choosing to stand in place, rather than sit down. He is wearing black shoes, and a black business suit&tie underneath a tan trenchcoat, complimented by a matching fedora with a large black band strapped around the top. His right hand holds a smooth red stone shaped like a circle and as large as the palm of his hand; two straight&wide black lines are spread across the stone's surface and intersect with each other like a giant 'X.' And his left arm is reached high into the air, his fingers spread apart as if feeling for... something. He carries a calm, mellow smile upon his face, one which rarely fades; not even when faced with asinine insults from half-blind doctors that obviously wouldn't know a real magician from a charlatan’s tricks ...

 

Man in Trenchcoat: I'm 'testing the waters', as it were. Trying to feel for any particular 'currents', before we truly begin...

 

Flash: [Has one arm draped over the back of his chair] Begin what exactly? I mean, sure, I run faster than the 9:45 train, and Midnight's here's never ever gonna' need a flashlight, but you have to admit, this all does sound juuuuuust a bit fishy...

 

Man in Trenchcoat: Perhaps. But if you recall, it isn't you, nor Doctor Midnight, that I've been called here in to see... [He brings his left arm down and shifts his gaze to the right, turning it upon the Widow, who promptly breaks free of her trance, and instead gives the man a deathglare.]

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Flash. I'm just as hung up about this as you, but... she's not exactly 'normal' herself. And that's in comparison to us. Much as I hate to say it, I think she needs a different kind of doctor...

 

Man in Trenchcoat: [His smile briefly lights up, before mellowing back down.] And that's why I'm here. Now... Ms.'Black Widow', was it?

 

Black Widow: …

 

Man in Trenchcoat: My name is Dr.Occult, otherwise known as 'Richard Occult.'

 

Dr.Midnight: Talk about coincidences...

 

Black Widow: … 'Black Widow.' ...That... that is my name, yes. The... the only one I can truly remember now... if I ever had another at all...

 

Man in Trenchcoat: Oh, but I think you did, Ms.'Widow.' And still do. It's only a matter of attempting to ascertain just what sort of deal you've gotten yourself into...

 

Black Widow: 'Deal?' I--

 

Man in Trenchoat: Hush now; trying to explain all of this to you now won't do anyone a lick of good. You'd be just as confused or dismissive as I would be exhausted in attempting to solve this with words alone. And with that said...

 

[He holds up his right hand now, making sure that the Widow is looking at the stone held within – now floating in the air and spinning rapidly in a black&red whirl like a hypno ring – with rapt attention...]

 

Widow: ...What is--?

 

Man in Trenchcoat: Don't think about that now. Just look at the stone; watch how it spins, over and over again. A never ending cycle of confusion and chaos, much like what you've no doubt found yourself hurled into, even if you can't yet realize it yourself...

 

Widow: ...I... I... I... [Slowly but surely, the Widow falls into another trance, but this one is different from the last; she is sitting completely straight, her eyes wide, but she is not looking at anything in particular; almost as if she wasn't fully there...]

 

Man in Trencoat: Now, Ms.'Widow', I want you to think back. First, tell me your real name...

 

Black Widow: ...Claire Voyant...

 

[Flash and Dr.Midnight watch in amazement – Flash with his jaw practically dropped, and Midnight with folded arms and narrow, obscured eyes – as the now-blank Widow seems about to reveal all, or at least as much as she can...]

 

Dr.Occult: Goooooood. Now I want you to try something a bit more... complex. I want you to try and remember how things were before becoming 'the Black Widow.' No need to recall your whole life just yet; we don't want to strain yourself. Just try and remember your last day before you became what you are now...

 

Black Widow: ...I... I was... a medium...

 

Dr.Occult: Yeeeeees...?

 

Black Widow: A... a clairvoyant...

 

Dr.Midnight: Funny that...

 

Black Widow: I... I had been commissioned to... to channel the spirit of... of a loved one. Of family... I

 

Dr.Occult: And the family's name?

 

Black Widow: They... 'Perkins.' 'Perkins' was their name. ...I... I had nearly succeeded; nearly reached out to whom they sought, but...

 

Dr.Occult: But what?

 

Black Widow: ...Some... Something... reached out to me; compelled me to... to curse them, in the name of... of...

 

Dr.Occult: Of who?

 

Black Widow: I... I--!

 

Dr.Occult: Shhhhhh, don't worry about it. No need to think about that for now if it's too much trouble. Now, can you tell me what happened then?

 

Black Widow: ...The family... They were... were offended by what I had said; they called it blasphemy; I tried to tell them I had no control over what I had just said, but they would not listen. They... They left; drove away...

 

Dr.Occult: And then?

 

Black Widow: ...One of the sons within the family; the eldest, a young man. He...

 

Dr.Occult: What about him?

 

Widow: ...He... he came back, later that night. He told me... told me that his family...

 

Dr.Occult: What about them?

 

Widow: They... they had all... had all died, in a crash. He... he was the only one who had survived. And he said... he said now, to avenge his family, he had to... was compelled to...

 

Dr.Occult: Compelled to do what?

 

Widow: ...He said that a voice was driving him on; a voice in the back of his skull, telling him to kill... kill... KILL!

 

Flash: Okay, I think this monkey business has gone on far enough--!

 

Dr.Midnight: Now just hold on a minute here; I don't like this any more then you do, but if we just stop this now, we'll--

 

[The Widow then starts to slowly rise out of her chair, as her face steadily becomes tinged with fear.]

 

Widow: He... he brought a... a gun... He pressed... pressed the trigger... Darkness. Only darkness... And then... fire! Fire, and nothing else but the screams of the damned! [She begins to walk towards the fire, reaching out as if grasping for it] HE brought me back! HE shaped me into what I am now! He... He... HEwas the one who had made contact; controlled my very mind, my very soul! HE was the one made me curse them! HE--!

 

Dr.Occult: ENOUGH! ...Sleep...

 

[And with just that one word, that is what the Widow does, as she slumps right to the floor; the Flash zips over as if to grab her, but--}

 

Flash: YEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

 

[He hand practically blasts off of the Widow's body in burning, searing pain, as if she is impossibly hot to the touch; her 'attributes' seem to have grown slightly larger as well, and her hair is ever longer...]

 

Dr.Midnight: [Scowls at Dr.Occult] What in heaven's namedid you to her--?!

 

Dr.Occult: [His calm smile has, by now, faded into oblivion, replaced with a stern grimace.] 'Heaven' has nothing to do with this, of that you can be sure. [His stone slowly stops spinning, and he grabs it once again.] And all I did was draw out what was already there; made sure to stop it before it really got going...

 

Dr.Midnight: ...If I hadn't met the Spectre--

 

Dr.Occult: Ah! Ran into him, did you? Well, if he were here, this business would be settled sooner than you could throw a demon at it, but... perhaps it would not be accomplished within the manner any of us would have liked...

 

[The Flash, meanwhile, is busy looking down at this own feet; his face is hard and dismal, as he thinks back to just an hour or so ago; when this strange, enigmatic woman said to him--

 

' But... he killed me! That I know for sure. So... with a mere touch...']

 

Dr.Occult: Something on your mind, Flash?

 

Flash: [Is jolted from his thoughts] Whuzzat--?!

 

Dr.Occult: You know... if I recall, the Brain requested you here – you and Dr.Midnight – because you both had had prior contact – and not in that manner, lest I be mistaken – with Ms.Voyant at one point or another. He is a rather gifted telepath, you know...

 

Dr.Midnight: Guess nothing's safe when someone like him's around, huh?

 

Dr.Occult: Now, now, I doubt that he hears your thoughts entirely willingly; some bits are likely merely easier to make out. ...However, if one wished to keep a particular fact or two locked within his or her mind – if he truly did not wish the rest of the world to know – then I suppose that would be harder to simply pick up on...

 

Flash: ...I suppose it would be now, wouldn't it?

 

Dr.Occult: Yes, well... somehow, I doubt that looking into this 'Perkins' family will get us anywhere; there are so many Perkins afterall, I'm sure. ...And there are other matters to look into as well...

 

Flash: Such as...?

 

Dr.Occult: If nothing else, I'm quite convinced that our Ms.Voyant has somehow gotten herself mixed up with one of the numerous lords of the numerous Hell's that exist within--

 

Dr.Midnight: Wait, wait, wait-a-minute; all of this... mystical, spirtual hoo-hah is hard enough to believe as is, but... you're seriously asking us to believe there's more than oneHell? If there even is a Hell...

 

Dr.Occult: Oh, there is, and not getting into the various myriad afterlifes of every religion in existence, which are all true in one way or another, there arenumerous hells, and our mysterious femme fetale seems to have wound up as a servant of a ruler of one such hell, though judging by what we know so far, it likely wasn't willingly.

 

Flash: ...Make sense. She did say that that 'something' went and 'made contact' with her...

 

Dr.Occult: Again, likely a Hell Lord. Through this tragic series of events, all of which were most certainly orchestrated by this Lord, she has essentially become an infernal slave, though we know not just for what purpose this was achieved. ...But unfortunately, we do not have forever to ascertain that purpose...

 

Dr.Midnight: How so?

 

Dr.Occult: You're observant; take a close look at her. Her 'features'; they're all a bit larger in size than they were before, correct?

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Yes, but--

 

Dr.Occult: A once-human servant of a Hell Lord always starts as being discernibly human on the outside, though they themselves are still no longer truly 'alive', in our sense of the word. But that is merely the beginning. A Hell Lord does not desire human servants, or even undead humans; our Widow's current form is but the equivalent of a caterpillar.

 

Dr.Midnight: ...You mean--

 

Dr.Occult: Yes; she will slowly but surely become something else; even if it may appear human, it will not be truly human at all, not even an undead one.

 

Flash: ...If this is true--

 

Dr.Occult: I am quite sure it is. ...Dr.Midnight; you posses a scalpel, yes?

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Yes, but I don't see--

 

Dr.Occult: Cut away the upper-middle of her costume, and you'll see what I mean...

 

Dr.Midnight: ...Buddy, if you're going nowhere with this... [He does as is asked and--] HOLY MOLEY!

 

[Upon her back is a pair of what seem to be small, boney wings; almost like that of a skeletal dragon...]

 

Dr.Occult: So you see; if nothing is done, then--

 

Flash: Yeah, I see alright. Guess you're telling the truth. ...What can we do?

 

Dr.Occult: I shall attempt a ritual to halt the changes; it should be sufficient to last for some time, but it will not hold forever. Nor could it be used again. Once the ritual has taken effect... She will regain some of her former... I suppose you could call it 'emotional range', but she still will not be the same as she was before... before she met her most recent maker, I suppose you could say. I'll do what I can to seek a way to reverse her condition for good, but in the meantime... [He looks intently at Flash&Dr.Midnight, with a small smile]

 

Dr.Midnight: ...What?

 

Dr.Occult: Oh, nothing. It' just that, well, you two seemed to have quite the fondness for the lady; I'm sure that having some... 'companionship' would help her out more than one might think...

 

Flash: Hey, I care about the lady, but... I've already got my own girl back in the midwest; she's be mighty darn miffed if I was so much as touching another wo--

 

Dr.Occult: Uh, not like that, no; sorry to say.

 

Flash: ...I see; just friends, huh? Sorry 'bout that. That case, you didn't even have to ask. She's gonna' need some real help sorting things out in the days to come, I'm sure...

 

Dr.Midnight: Same here. It's... all hard to believe; but I suppose I don't have much of a choice. And seeing her like this, knowing what she could become... I can't just turn my back on her now.

 

Dr.Occult: Good to hear. I'll keep trying to figure out just which Hell Lord we need to look into, and then... well, I guess we'll go from there. I have my ways of getting around, so we'll keep in touch after today...

 

[He starts to walk away, but turns around as if he just forgot something rather important.]

 

Dr.Occult: Oh, and whatever you do, be sure to keep your pants on around her. ...Just saying. Well, we'd better get busy. We'll need a small secure room; try and keep all of this secret until a later day; some of your number might not be so... receptive to what we happen to be dealing with. ...You two carry her over. Well then, come along...

 

Dr.Midnight: [After a moment in thought, he turns to the Flash.] What do you make of all this?

 

Flash: Me? Well... all I know for sure that is we've got someone here who's really in a hard place; a place most of us would probably trade or bet anything to keep out of. And, especially after what we've heard tonight, I'm starting to think that this reallyisn't her fault...

 

Dr.Midnight: Maybe. Well, I guess all we can do for now is to go along with this malarkey, though I guess there's some truth to it; otherwise, I'd have sooner called the men in the white coats on this whole crowd, you and everyone else. And myself, I would guess...

 

Flash: Maybe, maybe.But I guess we should get movin'...

 

Dr.Midnight: I guess so... [And so, off of the ground the Widow goes, carried by Flash and Dr.Midnight, as they follow Dr.Occult along, until...] Hm? Now? But... Okay, okay! ...Sorry people, but it seems I've got an operation to perform...

 

Dr.Occult: Well... I suppose we can get on without you. You may still be able to arrive in time for her recovery. Such as it is...

 

Dr.Midnight: Sorry about this. But, duty calls... [And so, placing the Widow's legs within the good Doctor Occult's hands, off down the bend McNider goes...]

 

Scene 3

 

Doc Strange: Now, this is peculiar...

 

[Our scene opens with Doc Strange, Dr.Nemesis, Jet Powers, and Hourman all together in the basement as they take a good long look at the damaged robot, with Strange putting a curled finger to his lip in contemplation...]

 

Jet: Now that has to be the understatement of the year. Of course, I've always thought of building a robot or two myself--

 

Doc Strange: Same here.

 

Dr.Nemesis: Thirded!

 

Hourman: ...Are you sure you haven't recently ingested some sort of mind-altering substance? Cocaine, perhaps...

 

Jet: ...I see that great minds do think alike. But anything I've been able to come up with is nothing like this. That is, if that little lens up there on it's head can do what I think it can do.

 

Doc Strange: Hm. We might have better luck with whatever they find in the Atlantian's brain; I think that's what they told me he is. Apparently, there might be some sort of device responsible for killing him, and that Phantom Reporter fellow has posited some ideas that are quite interesting. It stands to reason that the device went off when it did because whoever was responsible for planting it suddenly considered Merrano a liability. But if he didn't want any secrets to get out at all, why even bother sending Merrano out in the first place? No; he somehow knew, or at least suspected, that he'd been caught. And I think that--

 

???: That there must have been some sort of tracking device put in the Atlantian's brain alongside the scanner, correct?

 

Doc Strange: What--?

 

[As the quartet of scientists turns around towards the steps, they see a tall man with brown hair in a black tuxedo and a white labcoat walking down the steps; he's holding a smoking pipe in his left hand, and in his right coat pockets seems to be some sort of strange golden rod. He boasts a wide, calm smile, though his eyes are lowered and relaxed.]

 

Man in Labcoat: Well, it seems that the party would have started without me; shame...

 

Hourman: And you are...?

 

Man in Labcoat: Ah, yes; how rude of me. Name's Knight, Ted Knight. Course, some of you might stand a better chance of recognizing me if I was wearing bright-red spandex with a giant yellow star slapped right on my chest...

 

Hourman: That must mean you're Starman, correct? I believe I've seen you before, if only at a distance; a bright glowing beacon against the engulfing night. Though you tend to be seen primarily out of Opal County more often than not...

 

Starman: Right the first time. Opal is where I was born&raised, so it's only natural that I'd base my career out of there. Now--

 

Dr.Nemesis: Oh, PLEASE!

 

[Everyone else then stares at Dr.Nemesis. He seems... different then before; more lucid and harder. As if his previous shenanigans weren't quite as 'real' as everyone thought...]

 

Dr.Nemesis: You idiotic, hairdbrained inbreed! You expect to simply waltz in here and act as if you're a big shot now, but I know more about you then it seems anyone else does. For YEARS, you were nothing more than a philandering playboy millionare, content with wiling away your days in wealth&luxury! And then one day, you suddenly decide to promote designs for 'gravity machines', or whatever you wish to call them, and you're hailed as a genius. Some of us had to work to get where we are, in case you were misinformed! It practically makes me want to VOMIT--!

 

Doc Strange: DR.NEMESIS!

 

Dr.Nemesis: What?! You wish to defend this second rate bas--

 

[Dr.Strange then quickly walks straight up to Nemesis, and gives him a light slap in the face. Or rather it would have been a 'light slap' if Dr.Strange wasn't as strong as he was; a s things are, Dr.Nemesis' face has quite literally 'turned the other cheek'...]

 

Dr.Nemesis: ...You dare--!

 

Dr.Strange: Yes, I 'dare'. You entire 'Nazi-land' facade may have been just an act, but I'm starting to honestly believe that was preferable.

 

Starman: ...I'll admit, that while he was rather... 'vocal' about saying so... he does have something of a point.

 

Hourman: Hm?

 

Jet Powers: Does he, now?

 

Starman: ...It's true that I was practically born into one of the richest families this side of the Waynes. And at first, I didn't really do that much worthy of note. But what's also true is that I had ideas. Ideas that could revolutionize our world if applied! ...Unfortunately, I suppose the ideas are still ahead of their time, as about the only contraption I was able to manage was the rod you see in your hands. Now, I could have patented it off to the military, or perhaps a firm or research company, for a hefty sum – not that I needed it – but... at around that time, heroes like Green Lantern, the Flash, the Human Torch, and so many more all started popping out of the wordwork. As you can guess, I decided to take this rod, and put it to use as Starman, the bright guardian of Opal County, and of New York City as well!

 

Jet Powers: Hey, now that you've brought it up... why didn't you patent it? I mean, you still could've; I'm sure it would've made you the star of the nation, pardon the pun...

 

Starman: Well, I thought about that too. Part of it was that I wanted to keep it to myself; it helped me feel 'special', you know? ...But I also thought about what the military might do with it. Both during the war... and beyond.

 

Doc Strange: To be honest, I've occasionally had similar thoughts about selling my own technology. And I've always ended up refraining from doing so for similar reasons. Minds like ours are too few; hardly anyone in the world can fully comprehend our ideas and technology. There's no guarantee that they'll be used as responsibly as they should be.

 

Jet Powers: And just who gets to decide that? Look, I get what you guys are saying, I really do, but shouldn't the people be the judge of how which&what is used?

 

Starman: Eh, you never know; heck, maybe I really will put 'em out some day. But not now; not even in the midst of a war such as this.

 

Hourman: I believe I can understand; we may be on the side of the provoked for the time being, but when happens when we're the provokers?

 

Dr.Nemesis: Oh, poppycock! You all must be mad. The Nazi's and their defeat are whom we should be concerned with above all else. Thinking of what may or may not occur in the future matters not, if there is no future left to scrape off of the blackened pavement...

 

Jet Powers: ...Why don't we all just look into this robot here while we wait for the others to finish up with Merrano? Something to take our minds off of... off of this... might do us all a world of good...

 

Hourman: Perhaps...

 

Jet Powers: You may be right...

 

Starman: That is why we were all brought here in the first place, wasn't it?

 

Dr.Nemesis: ...NAZILAND! ALL AXIS MUST DIE!

 

Doc Strange: ...You do realize that you're not exactly fooling any of us now, don't you?

 

Scene 4

 

Eternal Brain: That's it; just the slightest cut towards – well, that can't be good...

 

[Our scene opens in what seems to be a small spare room. An exposed brain lies upon a pitri dish on an operating table, both of which were apparently secured. Dr. Midnight, now back from his little... 'adventure' in the living room, is busy carefully cutting his way into the brain of the once-living Merrano, as the Eternal Brain, it's jar seated upon a cushioned char, assists him mentally. The Phantom Reporter is also carefully watching as an observer...]

 

Dr.Midnight: Sorry; just have... a lot on my mind...

 

Eternal Brain: I know, and I'm not merely saying that...

 

Dr.Midnight: [Gives the Brain a dirty look, and seems to be about to say something, but...] Forget it.

 

Eternal Brain: ...Charles McNider; while the thought is rather quaint, I do not posses a rear end to shove. Do not believe you can hide a thing from me...

 

Phantom Reporter: Oh, and don't we know it. That's the problem isn't it? Everything wrapped up in our noggins, we just can't hide 'em, can we? Oh, we can try, but in the end, you're just going to scrape out whatever bits seem even the least interesting to you, while we don't have much of a choice in the matter...

 

Eternal Brain: And I am deeply sorry for that, I truly am. But try to see it from my position; here I am, a brain trapped in a jar for perhaps all eternity. It's as if the whole world suddenly found itself void of radio and the pulps; there isn't much to do when you're reduced to a mere shell of your previous existence. You all don't exactly keep your thoughts locked very tightly either; almost as if they're there for the taking, and sometimes, I'm sorry to say, I just can't stop myself...

 

Phantom Reporter: 'Sometimes'...

 

Dr.Midnight: Well now, what have we here?

 

[The Reporter and the Brain then turn their attention to Dr.Midnight; he's holding what looks a tweezer within his right hand; in the clamp's metal grip is a sort of small bolt, except it doesn't quite look as it should, being far smoother and without 'a spiral around itself. It had been imbedded within the forearea of the brain, but now, covered with small splats of blood, it has been carefully plucked out.]

 

Dr.Midnight: Best thing we can do now is clean this up, and send it over to our new team of eggheads to give it a lookover. If there's anything we can get from this, I'd bet they'd be the ones to do do it...

 

Eternal Brain: Precisely why I chose them! You're catching on!

 

[Dr.Midnight is obviously not amused.]

 

Phantom Reporter: Look, Brain, I'll let the matter drop for now, but if this goes on...

 

Eternal Brain: Fine, fine. I shall try to... 'restrain' myself in the days to co me...

 

Phantom Reporter: But the word of note here is 'try', isn't it? ...Still, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. ...For now...

 

Eternal Brain: Splendid!

 

Phantom Reporter: For now. Some of us don't exactly like our lives being poked&prodded into on a whim, in case you weren't aware...

 

Eternal Brain: Oh, but I am now, and rest assured, you do not have a thing to fear from me...

 

Phantom Reporter: Let's hope so...

 

Scene 5

 

Human Torch: Oh, Namor, come on--!

 

Namor: Nonsense! You may have avoided my grasp once, but you shall not do so again!

 

[Namor and the Human Torch are standing outside of the mansion, with the reporters apparently having left at the sight of a pair of so-called 'angels' in another part of New York, not that our two heroes know of this. Namor appears rather miffed at the Human Torch having run off with the Flash, seeing as he had made an offer not long ago...]

 

Human Torch: Look, the aquarium’s fine, I'm sure, but--

 

Namor: You dare scorn the blood of the realm?!

 

Human Torch: No, of course not! It's just--!

 

Namor: Splendid! Well then, shall we be--?

 

[Just then, a strange red, black, yellow&flesh-colored object – a plane, upon closer inspection – seems to be soaring through the sky... and then suddenly begins to divebomb straight towards them...]

 

Strange Plane: Mayday, mayday! Someone stop this crazy thing!

 

[Namor, after briefly rolling his eyes while the Torch is completely awestruck, bullets into the air, and bearhugs the plan wit h his might y arms. He then brings it back down to land, though as he does so, he can't help but notice that the plane is somewhat... squishy .]

 

Strange Plane: Ah, thanks for that. Can't always properly control myself when I'm changin' into something I haven't gotten too used to yet...

 

Namor: ...Torch.

 

Torch: Yes?

 

Namor: I am quite sure that our food was not 'spiked', as you mortals oft call it, nor were our drinks drugged.

 

Torch: Same here.

 

Namor: So then, are we to conclude that this strange abomination is, in fact, a reality?

 

Torch: Seems so.

 

Namor: I see. Well then, that leaves just one thing to do... [He then grasps the middle of the plan with his arms, and begins to squeeze it so tight, the ends of the plane seem to enlarge as if the middle's mass is being redistributed into its ends.] If you wish for this pain to end, then I would advise you to explain your true nature posthaste!

 

Strange Plane: Oh, come on, stop it! [Briefly chuckles] I'm... ticklish, you know!

 

Hydro: He might be at that.

 

Torch: Hm?

 

[Coming in from around the bend is none other than Hyrdo&Man O-Metal, who is still 'metaled-up'.]

 

Man O' Metal: Hi-de-ho, how ya' guys' doin? How's tricks?

 

Torch: ...I've only been around for a couple years, but I don't believe I've yet to hear anyone say 'how's tricks'.

 

Hyrdo: Forgive him; he seems to be a bit... old-fashioned, though then again, I've only met him 5 minutes ago, so who's to say? Now, can you put the plane down, so--

 

Strange Plane: No need for that, Pappy Hydro!

 

Hydro: ...This is going to be your 'endearing term of affection' whenever you refer to me from now on, isn't it?

 

Strange Plane: It is if you want to be!

 

Hydro: ...Well, I definitely don't want it to be, so--

 

Strange Plane: Okay, Pappy Hydro! [As Hydro begins to grimace, the strange plane shifts&shapes, slipping out of Namor's hands and reforming right beside him into none other than Plasticman.]

 

Plastic Man: How do ya' do? Name's Plastic Man! Here's my card... [The palm of his right hand then turns into none other than a flesh-colored card, with the initials 'P.L' in bold black letters.]

 

Hydro: ...You'll have to forgive him too. He has the most... peculiar sense of humor. Now, onto more important matters. You see, we aren't just here to see the sights.

 

Namor: Go on...

 

Hydro: We're fellow Superheroes like yourselves, if you haven't guessed already. We'd heard about the new group that was getting together, and we decided to see about joining up.

 

Namor: Have you now?

 

Hydro: Is there anything strange about wanting to protect one's home&country?

 

Namor: ...No. No, there is not. But we do not know anything about you, such as who you are, where you come from, o--

 

Torch: Hold it there, Namor. ...I'm getting a message from the Eternal Brain...

 

Hydro: Eternal what now?

 

Torch: He's saying... he's saying that he knows that there are are three heroes wanting to join, but only because we've just met them now; for some reason, he isn't able to read their minds...

 

Namor: Really...

 

Hydro: Fine; I suppose we'd have to come clean sooner or later...

 

Namor: Come clean with what?

 

Hydro: Well, you see... [And so Hydro and the Man O' Metal each tell Namor&the Torch all about their origins, though he conveniently leaves out the portions about the FBI.]

 

Torch: Huh. Well, I guess that kinda' explains why your minds can't be read...

 

Hydro: Yes; my body has been so altered that I can morph myself into water at will, and the Man O' Metal-- well, I suppose that's self-explanatory. Though our friend here... [He begins to give Plasticman a hard look...]

 

Plastic Man: ...You wanna hear a story? Fine, I'll give you a story. I was... doing my job in a factory when some crooks bust in; got shot in the process, and so did some sort of container. There was a weird fluid cooked up in there, and it managed to pour right into my wounds; got straight into my system. Next thing I knew, I'm stretchin' about like the world's greatest gymnast. Now, everyone else with powers is out being' a Superhero, so I figure, why not? Got myself a costume, called myself Plasticman, and there we are. End. Of. Story.

 

Namor: ...The former two's stories ring true, ludicrous as they sound, but... your story... It is adequate enough, but...

 

Torch: But what?

 

Namor: I do not know. ...It does not seem like you have told all that is needed to tell...

 

Hydro: Same here.

 

Man O' Metal: Hey now, I understand this is kinda' important, but some of us have somethin' we don't much like talkin' about; somethin' in our past we'd rather ferget. If he's got somethin' he don't wanna' tell, them just let 'im off fer now; let 'im prove himself by doin.

 

Torch: I don't know... But at the least, the Brain's saying to let 'em in; I guess we'll have a bit of an interview with them there...

 

Namor: ...So be it. Come, if you wish. And do please attempt to keep the one in red's antics to a minimum, if you would be so courteous...

 

Plasticman: Antics? What antics? Why, I'm shocked! Shocked and dismayed! If I was runnin' this town--!

 

Hydro: And thank God for that you aren't...

 

[As Plasticman continues to ramble, Hydro and the others head inside...

 

Scene 6

 

[As the night goes on, two winged beings in costumed garb soar through the night sky, maces strapped to the sides of their belt s , with a gawking crew of reporters&photographers observing them all the while...]

 

Hawkwoman: Figures. You build your career in Bufallo, and all you get is the occasional lone article; you fly into New York City, and it's as if the whole world is anxious at your every move. ...Still, somehow, I don't mind a bit of attention...

 

Hawkman: 'A bit?' You're practically eating it up.

 

Hawkwoman: I suppose so. ...I used to be a shy little thing, you know. Hardly ever let anyone see much of me, aside from my work; when you have to work with other people, there isn't much of a choice, is there? But now... now, it doesn't really matter. In fact, I revel in it.

 

Hawkman: So do I, though perhaps not quite as much as you. You know, the thought used to pop into my head of running for mayor of this city; perhaps even governor of the whole state. And now I think I know why...

 

Hawkwoman: [Smiles] Once a king, always a king, eh dear? Though I suppose I could say the same for myself-- hm?

 

[Right out of the corner of her eye, Hawkwoman sees a peculiar sight. Flying towards Excello's mansion is a man dressed in red spandex designed to look almost like an Egyptian tunic, with his legs and arms being mostly uncovered, save for the beginnings of them. There is a thin golden belt around the waist, with a blue loincloth draped over that to extend to just above the shins. He wears blue boots with yellow bands at the tops, and red headgear with a yellow band above his eyes that altogether looks like something out of ancient Egypt; almost like something a Pharoah would wear. He wears a wide, long blue cape that is just a bit longer than the loincloth, with a golden rope in the front to keep it together, and there is a large vertical rectangle upon his chestwith round corners that is filled-in yellow, with an icon of a large blue scarab upon it. He is also wearing a blue, glowing ring on the index finger of his right hand, and upon his shoulders, there seems to be a black cat who is somehow able to keep it's balance with aplomb.]

 

Hawkwoman: Carter, do you think--?

 

Hawkman: Yes, I do. In fact, somehow, I know.

 

Hawkwoman: Same here. Shall we?

 

[The two nod in agreement, and fly over to the Scarab, placing themselves in front of him as he stops himself, now levitating in midair. The Hawks do the same, as they manage to float in midair without the assistance of their wings.]

 

Scarab: Do I... know you? [The Scarab, dsespite his Caucasian build, speak with a strong Egyptian accent, yet is clear enough to be understood.

 

Hawkman: That's what we wish to find out. It might be better to take to more... stable ground...

 

Scarab: Agreed. [And so the three, with cat in tow, fly themselves to the roof of, fittingly enough, a museum that just happens to be featuring an Egyptian exhibit, as advertised on a nearby billboard. After they land--]

 

Scarab: You two did not seem so at first, but I believe there is a level of... familiarity about you...

 

Hawkman: Maybe. This may be hard to believe, but I may have been something of royalty back in the day.

 

Scarab: Oh?

 

Hawkman: Yes, though I wasn't aware of this until recently. You see, I used to just be an archeologist, until I came across a strange knife; I still have it at home. It... 'spoke' to me; not actually speaking persay, but it was more like... it showed me images; images of another time, another place. At first, I could barely recall them after seeing them for the first time, but... but I'm getting ahead of myself. While I hardly remembered any of what I'd 'seen', I still somehow 'knew' that I was a Pharoah, a king, in the ancient days of Egypt. Of course, it only bothered to tell me anything of the sort after it had done so to another. Anton Hastor, a scientist in this day and age, but I get the feeling he used to be a priest; a rather envious one too, maybe. I still have no clue why, but it seems that he... killed both me, and my Queen...

 

Hawkwoman: [Raises hand.] That would be me. From what we can guess, he used the same knife that 'showed' us all of this in the first place. Of course, I only knew of it after both Anton and Carter did, which was... dicey. Seems the once-priest wanted to kill me again, and since I still didn't know two things about my previous life, I was easy pickings, though instead of just killing me on the spot, he bothered to kidnap me first. I'm under the impression that he wanted to ravish me, and then shoot me in the head before dumping me in a river somewhere. That's my guess...

 

Scarab: You possess.... quite the vivid imagination...

 

Hawkman: Thankfully, none of that happened. Before the knife 'told' me anything, I'd researched it's properties; seems it was made out of a rather curious sort of metal that, if used right, defies the laws of gravity itself.

 

Hawkwoman: It's how we got from Buffalo to here in record time; the wings are more of an accessory than anything else.

 

Hawkman: Right. After the knife 'told' me what I know now, and after Anton had captured Sheira, I fashioned a makeshift costume for myself, and managed to discover where Anton had been hiding up. It was somehow as if I 'knew' where he was. As if I'd always known. And I also think it's my past memories that were responsible for being able to harness the metal in the first place, even if I didn't know it then. The knife might even had been influencing me in some way even then...

 

Hawkwoman: And then of course, he managed to take down Anton and save my little hide. Well, not so little, if you can't guess. And Carter also brought the knife with him; seems it influenced him to bring it without him even knowing until after the fact. And then it did the same thing to me that it'd done to Carter and Anton...

 

Hawkman: Right. As for him, let's just say he... isn't 'here' anymore, and leave it at that...

 

Hawkwoman: Hey, we were murdered; I don't think something like that is just so easy to forgive&forget...

 

Hawkman: I know, I know. ...So that's that. ...Or so we thought. For a while, things seemed pretty simple. We 'knew' we were the Pharoah and his Queen, and even shared a few traits&interests, but that's as far as it went. We also put on the costumes you see now, and went about protecting our city; I guess we just felt that we had to protect our home – part of being a Pharoah – though it helped that everyone and their mothers seemed to be doing it.

 

Hawkwoman: But then, just a few months ago, things got... They got kind of weird. One night, we both had the same dream; of the both of as we were in our original lives, being killed by... by the Priest. Then, we wake up, and each time we do, it's as if another memory from our old lives is brought to the forefront. And it keeps. On. Happening! And it wouldn't be so bad if getting new memories was all it was ,but it's as my very sense of self – it's as if Sheira Saunders, the archeologist, is just fading away, and Sheira the Queen – and I'm quite sure that wasn't even her real name – is coming back with a vengeance. Putting it in layman's, the old Sheria – the old me – is going out the window. This I know. But at times, and more and more... I actually don't seem to care. I... like what I'm becoming, but it's that I like it, maybe even love it--

 

Scarab: Hush, child. You need say no more. ...I understand why you both have come to me, and it was right of you to do so. I myself have gone through what the both of you are experiencing at this very moment, if in a much shorter span of time. I myself was much like you, if not exactly the same; an Egyptologist, Peter Ward, with just as much fascination about the culture as I'm sure the both of you were, even before you found that dagger. One day, on what would prove to be a rather eventful expedition, I discovered something most peculiar; a ring, the same that I wear on my very finger now. And that night, it 'spoke' to me, much the same as the knife did to you. However... do you know why you exist in these new bodies; why your souls were reincarnated into these new forms?

 

Hawkman: ...Not exactly, sorry to say...

 

Scarab: Then I fear that that separates us, if only slightly. In my original lifetime, I was a priest; I served my Pharoah faithfully, but even more than him, I served the God of the Sun; Ra.

 

Hawkgirl: ...You know, just a year or so ago, I would have shoved that all off as a load of hooey, but now...

 

Scarab: [Smiles] Now it seems only natural, does it not? But yes, I was a loyal priestess of Ra, and when I died of old age, my soul entered his realm, though admittedly, I remember hardly anything of my time there. All I know is that... that I was at peace. But it would seem that the earthly plane was not done with me, as Ra had sent me back upon the living, in a new body; a new place and time. But I also feel that I was meant to find the ring; that it had been prepared to recover my memories of my past life, to prepare myself for the purpose I was meant to achieve upon my return. But as for what that purpose entails, I know not...

 

Hawkwoman: ...You really don't think of yourself... as whoever you used to be, do you?

 

Scarab: Hm? ...Ah, I see now. No, I no longer see myself as Peter Ward; my true name is Rahn-Kha-Tahn, servant of the Lord Ra! Though I must admit, Ward's memories proved must sufficient in adapting myself to this new world...

 

Hawkwoman: [Her eyes go wide, as she beings to fear that whatever is left of who she used to be will simply wash away into complete and utter nothingness, as a new – or rather, old – being takes her place...] Oh God.

 

Scarab: Now, now; there is no guarantee that that is how you shall end. Though I would not completely dismiss it...

 

Hawkman: Scarab – Rahn-Kha-Tahn – I may not remember you, but I can't help but feel as I've known you nonetheless...

 

Scarab: And I the same. But I had died an old man, and had served more than one Pharoah within my lifetime; I still know not who, or your queen, used to be known as in the days of old...

 

Cat: And neither do I...

 

[Both Hawkman&Hawkwoman immediately stare at the cat. They blink their wide eyes in disbelief, but it isn't long before the cat opens it's mouth once again, and--]

 

Cat: Do the both of you require eyewear of some sort, that you cannot recognize a cat when you lay your eyes upon one?

 

Scarab: Ah, ahem; I should explain. You see, I am not alone in my purpose. I have have long had a cat beside me; as it so happens, when I returned home, the ring did what had been done to me, to my cat. It too remembered who it had been – Akh-Tu-Men, Priest of Ra – and thereafter, forever gained the ability to speak, as well, I believe, the extended lifespan of an average human.

 

Cat: I honestly appreciated that last gift the best...

 

Hawkman: ...So, let me get this straight, will you? A Priest, who used to be a man... was reincarnated as a cat?

 

Scarab: None more unbelievable then an Egyptian being reincarnated into the body of a Caucasian...

 

Hawkman: ...You do have a point...

 

Scarab: So, yes, the Cat may seem to be a mere feline, but in truth, he possesses the spirit of a mighty priest of old!

 

Akh-Tu-Men: Charmed...

 

Scarab: ...Ah, yes! And least I forget, the same ring that restored my memories of old to me has also given me quite the array of peculiar abilities; I have far greater strength then I ever had in my former life, the ability to soar through the skies like a swooping hawk, the resistance of the finest of Egyptian pyramids, and perhaps a further gift or two yet...

 

Hawkman: I'm sure. ...To be honest, we appreciate the information, but... you aren't exactly telling us what we ant to hear...

 

Scarab: Should I be? I am no more then what I always have been, and will always be; the same applies for both you, and her. ...Still, it is possible that there are facts or details we are as of yet unaware of; something that we have not forseen, or perhaps even neglected. But for now, I propose we cease our conversation, and instead zip away to our most important destination...

 

Hawkwoman: You mean the other heroes?

 

Scarab: Precisely! You see, upon the retrieval of my memories, I received a message from the Lord Ra, telling me to use my new abilities to do what I could to protect this world. In effect, I was once again a priest; a priest of a new kingdom, one even larger and grander than before! I wish to do all I can to protect it, and if I can do so with the aid and assistance of those who wish to do the same...

 

Hawkwoman: Same here. Though, not with the whole 'mission from God' sthick, of course...

 

Scarab: Of course. Well, shall we resume our flight to our mutual destination? We can always resume our talk at a later, more opportune time...

 

Hawkman: ...I suppose we can, at that...

 

[And off the three heroes, with cat in tow, soaring high into the air, as the crowd follows them on the ground below...]

 

Scene 7

 

[We are in another hallway, as Captain America analyzes yet another painting, this one bearing a strong likeness to Abraham Lincoln. However, he is interrupted by the foot steps of another around the corner; walking towards him now is none other than Mastermind Excello, who seems to be bearing some news...]

 

Captain America: Excello. ...Any word on Merrano or the robot?

 

Excello: Our humble thinktank appears to have just started giving our robotic friend a lookover, but it appears that that may be put on hold. Dr.Midnight seems to have found a sort of device within Merrano's oversized cranium; a sort of screw-like contraption that may well have been responsible for his untimely death. Our scientists are liable to take a look into the matter.

 

Captain America: As they should. I think figuring out why our most important source of information is now nothing but another body in the grave – who had to be carried out by the spitting image of the Ayran race, no less – should take just a little priority...

 

Excello: There is one other matter of note however, Captain...

 

Captain America: And that would be...?

 

Excello: I have received another forewarning recently, as I am want to do, but it is... different, in it's way. That is not to say I have never received such a forewarning before, but... it is rather rare.

 

Captain America: Speak up, Soldier; just what are we talking about here?

 

Excello: Quite possibly, the end of the war on the Pacific front, and perhaps not in the way anyone would suspect. I've arranged for the Eternal to upload the images from my mind into yours, if you are willing...

 

Captain America: Well... I'm not exactly sure just how much or how little any of your 'forewarnings' are true, but they do seem to have gotten results...

 

Excello: Quite. Now, you are, I believe, not well versed in such matters of foresight, let alone memory-transfers, so please do relax, won't you?

 

Captain America: I'm always relaxed...

 

Excello: [The slightest hint of a smile can be seen upon the right corner of Excello's lips] If you say so, Captain...

 

Captain America: Which I do. Now, just how is this going to--

 

[Excello puts his fingers to the sides of his head and rubs it with his fingers. As he does so, Captain America finds himself void of breath and collapsing to the floor as a flood of images fills his mind. First, no more then 5 or 10 minutes: a metallic monster shaped like a man, but neither human nor beast, tears his way throughout New York City. In 24 hours: everyone currently assembled and more ride a vessel to Pacific Waters. This ultimate destination is Nazi-occupied Europe, but due to forewarnings and portents, they are taking a detour. Several days from now: over 20 blinding streaks of orange, white and gold soar throughout the sea like a magnificent fireworks display, bursting through ships and hulls which then proceed to either explode in blazing glory, or sink to a watery grave. And he knows that it is this threat that Excello has spoken of; that this is the reason for the detour on the way to Nazi Germany. If this new threat in the Pacific is not stopped, the entire course of the war may well be changed, and perhaps not in ways entirely favorable. The visions then stop, and Captain America is breathing once again...]

 

Excello: I am truly sorry Captain; for an untrained mind, such an experience must have been... nigh impossible to comprehend...

 

Captain America: [Still breathing heavily] It's... not your fault, Excello... You'd never tried anything like that this side of New York, right?

 

Excello: No; I thought that one such as yourself might have been able to fully withstand such an experience, but alas, perhaps we were both mistaken...

 

Captain America: ...I still saw them. I might have nearly passed out or worse, but I still saw them, and you were right for puttin' them in there; you and the Brain both. ...I'm still not sure how or why any of this is gonna' happen, and I'm not sure you are either, but... if there's something we gotta' do, then we gotta' do it... I'd tell the Brain to start searching for... whatever that hulk of metal was. I don't why, but I think it's got a mind of it's own, and if so...

 

Excello: The Brian had already anticipated this, and is taking care of it as we speak. There are several other masked heroes who are just nearly here from their flight in, you might say, and he is tasking them with the job of bringing in whatever, or whoever, this is...

 

Captain America: Really? Good thinking, though I'd prefer he would have it brought it up with me first... And once that's taken care of, we need to arrange to have everyone moved onto boats and ships ASAP; the attack's gonna' happen in the Pacific, and we need to be ready...

 

Excello: A sound choice. I will inform the brain at once, though I suspect he is already aware... [And so, off Excello goes, taking his leave. But as he does, Captain America thinks back upon his visions once more; they are beginning to fade, and so he is thankful that he shall have others whom he has told, and who will tell others still, to remind him, but there is one other vision he neglected to mention; a vision of him falling to certain death within frigid waters far below him, and even worse still, a similar fate for his ward Bucky as well. Did Execello already know of those particular events? If so, what else does he know? But all the Captain wishes to do now is to shield his mind from the Eternal Brain as he best can with whatever nonsense or garbage he can think of, and then proceed to find whatever parchment&pen he can get his hands on, so that he can write down this vision, and possibly prevent it from occurring the future. And yet, as he does so, he knows that it may not do him a world of good; he may know what is to occur, but he still does not know the why...]