by Starsky Hutch 76, Vendikarr DeWuff and Anubis8
Mina Curry walked along the beach, feeling herself become lightheaded as hunger began to overtake her. How would she get food? She wished she had planned her escape from Atlantis better. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Infinity Inc: To Infinity and Beyond, Chapter 2: Sons of the Golden Age.]
Suddenly, she heard laughing and saw a large group of girls the same age as her giggling and playing on the beach. She moved over to where they were to see what they were doing. While her brother Arthur Junior was a bit reserved like their father, Aquaman, Mina had always been a social butterfly.
That was why, as she moved into their group, she quickly found herself laughing and joking with the girls. Women who were called counselors passed around cardboard trays with sandwiches, bags of potato chips, and soft drinks. Mina happily took one of each as the trays came her way.
Eventually, one of the counselors called out, “It’s time to go back, girls, so find your bags and go change.”
As the other girls found their satchels or backpacks, one of the counselors noticed Mina simply standing and watching the other girls. “Where’s your bag?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” Mina said.
“Oh, no!” the counselor said in dismay. “It must’ve been stolen! This is horrible! Did you have anything of value in there?”
“What’s wrong?” one of the other counselors said, walking up.
“This poor girl’s bag has been stolen! She can’t ride back to Gotham in just a bathing suit!”
“Don’t worry, honey. We’ll work something out,” the second counselor said.
One of the girls Mina had been laughing with earlier walked up and said, “I brought some extra clothes. Mina can borrow some of mine.”
The counselors each let out a sigh of relief and said, “Thank you, Sally. You girls go and change.”
An excited buzz ran though Mina as she followed the girl named Sally to go change her clothes for the bus ride. Gotham City was the home of the JSA Brownstone, according to the stories her father had told her and her brother of his past. Why should she settle for joining a second-generation team like Infinity Inc. when she could join the original itself? This could be even better than simply getting the same glory as her brother. For once, she might actually have a chance to outshine him.
“Here we are,” Red Robin said. “The JSA Brownstone.”
“Wow,” said Jason Todd, peering out from the driver’s side window of the Batmobile at the building where so many legendary figures had passed their time between adventures. He continued staring in awe as he exited the vehicle and followed his mentor into the building.
As they walked through the doors and into the main hall, Jason’s eyes passed over the many trophies and monuments of past times. “There’s a lot of history here,” Red Robin said, noticing the boy’s curiosity, “and a lot more to be made.”
“So this is Batwing!” a voice boomed. They both turned to see Hourman walking toward them. “That’s some hair you’ve got there, son,” he said, lightly patting the top of Jason’s punk rock spikes. “You know, Bat-man only had two bat ears on his cowl.”
“He must’ve taken the ones that are missing from Robin’s,” Doctor Mid-Nite joked, walking into the room. “I like the new look, Dick.”
“It seems to be effective,” Mid-Nite added. “You’re certainly getting a lot of press out of it. Red Robin, indeed.”
“The press can call me whatever they want,” Robin said. “As long as it’s effective with the criminal element as well.”
“Hey, you’re scaring the bejeezus out of me, and I’ve known you since you were this high,” Wildcat said, holding his hand up to just to mid-chest level.
“You seem to be sporting a new look as well,” Red Robin said.
“That’s a long story,” said Wildcat, alias Ted Grant. “I’ll have to tell you about it.”
“Don’t worry,” Robin said. “Rex has already filled me in. Where is Alan, anyway?”
“No one’s heard from him since he healed Ted,” Charles McNider said. “He seemed to be pretty shaken up by the side effects of using the ring on him.”
“I don’t have any problem with them, let me tell you,” Wildcat said. “I feel at least ten years younger!”
“That’s because you are,” Doctor Mid-Nite said.
“Maybe more!” Wildcat chuckled.
There was a sudden whooshing sound at the door, and they all turned to see Superman and Superboy walking in. “Good Lord!” Hourman exclaimed. “You’re alive!”
“I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch with any of you sooner,” Superman said, almost sheepishly.
“We all thought you were dead!” Wildcat cried. “Heck, you big galoot. We’re just happy to see you’re alive. When did you get back?”
“Shortly after the Crisis,” Superman said, looking embarrassed.
“That long?” Robin said angrily. “You should’ve at least picked up a phone. Do you have any idea how angry Kara is going to be?”
“Hmmm. You’d better let me be the one to tell her,” Superman said.
“That puts me in a very bad position,” Robin said.
“How so?” Superman asked.
“They’re dating now,” Hourman said.
“Thanks, Rex,” Robin groaned.
“That’s great!” Superman added. “I can’t think of two people better suited for each other.”
“You’ve got a girlfriend?” Jason asked.
“Mind your own business, kid,” Robin snapped.
“It’s not his fault for not telling you. It’s mine,” Superboy blurted. “If he and his wife hadn’t had to fool with me, he would have gotten in touch with you sooner.” A look of compassion came into the face of every JSA member. They all knew the boy was the last son of Earth-Prime.
“No, it’s not, son,” Superman said, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Robin’s right. I should’ve at least picked up a phone. None of this is your fault.”
“Well, it appears we have a lot to talk about,” Doctor Mid-Nite said. “Since Alan’s not here, I say we adjourn to the board room and call this meeting to order.”
“There’s a TV in the lounge,” Superman said to Superboy. “We shouldn’t be more than an hour.”
“Typical that Johnny would be late,” Wildcat grumbled as they made their way to the boardroom.
“Great,” Jason said. “We get to go entertain ourselves while the grown-ups go talk. My name’s Jas — uh, Batwing, by the way.”
“You nearly slipped up there,” Clark Kent Junior laughed. “I’m still getting used to the secret identity thing myself.”
“So are you his kid?” Jason asked. “I’ve never heard anything about him having a son before.”
“Nah. It’s kind of weird,” Clark Junior said soberly. “In a sense, I am him.”
“Like a clone?”
“No, I’m his double from a parallel Earth. It’s like we’re the same person, only different ages. He’s taken me in and is gonna pass me off as his son, since my world was destroyed in the Crisis.”
“Geez, that’s too bad,” Jason said. “Well, at least if one of you guys ever needs a kidney or something, you’ll know where to go.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Superboy said with a small laugh. “I guess you and I should find that lounge.”
They started to make their way out of the room and turned quickly as a tall, strikingly beautiful woman, despite her dumbstruck expression, walked quickly past them, unaware of their presence.
“Was that Wonder Woman?” Superboy asked.
“Yeah,” Jason said. “But I always thought she was a lot older.”
“You look frazzled, Diana,” Doctor Mid-nite said as Wonder Woman took her place at the team’s meeting table.
“I am,” Wonder Woman said.
“Even frazzled, you still look great,” Wildcat said. “I didn’t realize those Amazon doctors were doing nip and tucks.”
“If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black!” she said, pulling his mask up as if to peer under it. “Or am I just seeing things, and there aren’t a few less wrinkles under there?”
“OK, you got me, Princess.”
“Is this what has you so bent out of shape?” Hourman said. “You certainly aren’t taking your rejuvenation as well as Ted over there. Is it Steve?”
“In a way, yes. But not in the way you think,” she said, taking a breath. “The gods have decreed that I be returned to my original stature when I was first made champion to venture to man’s world. Taking into consideration my marriage, they’ve made changes in Steve as well.”
“That ain’t good?” Wildcat said. “Seems old Steve Trevor might like the chance to be young again. I know I like having a few years shaved off.”
“Oh, no, Ted,” Wonder Woman said gravely. “It’s much more than that. They’ve made him into what they consider an appropriate mate for their chosen champion. He’s no longer himself, and not just physically. He’s… different now.
“I can’t believe your mother didn’t take me with her to the meeting!” Steve Trevor said in outrage.
“But you’re not a member, Dad,” Lyta Trevor said.
“It doesn’t matter,” he said with an imperious air. “Anyone who looks at me now can tell I belong there among the great champions of this world!”
“Calm down, Dad,” Lyta said, reaching toward him, her voice etched with concern. “You can talk to Mom about this in a couple of hours.”
“There’s nothing to talk about!” he snapped. “If she won’t help me to make my mark on this world, I’ll do it myself!” With a burst of light, his clothing changed to a white tunic and sandals, covered by silver armor and an enormous, billowing white cape. He threw open the patio doors and began to take to the air. “The time of the old heroes has passed. The world shall soon glory to the coming of Odysseus!”
Horror-struck, Lyta ran to the patio after him.
Suicide Slum, New York City:
“Ya sure yer ready to go?” asked Bibbo Bibowski.
“Yes, Bibbo. I do have to get going. But I appreciate all your help the last couple of months. I wouldn’t have survived without you.”
“Aw, kid, it wuz nothin’. When I found you out in the alley, in yer sooper-suit, I knew you was one of those heroes what saved the world. It was my dooty to help ya. Those clothes fit you OK?”
“Well, I wouldn’t have made it if you hadn’t given me a place to rest, and I am grateful. And, yes, the clothes you got me fit just fine.”
“Ya sure you know how to get to the Daily Star in Metropolis, kid?” asked Bibbo.
“Yes. I can get there with no problem.” With that, he walked over to Bibbo, gave him a hug, then walked to the doorway. He put his hands on the doorframe, and the door began to shimmer. In its place was utter blackness. It shimmered when light caught it, looking like a pool of ink. The young man stepped into the blackness, then it disappeared.
“Wow. Never git tired of seeing that.”
Flying in the skies above the Atlantic Ocean, Power Girl was on her way to Paradise Island to see the recently revived Huntress.
Lost in her thoughts, she drifted back to everything that had happened over the past few weeks, especially her growing feelings for the man she had found herself spending all of her free time with — Dick Grayson. Even though she was excited at the thought of her best friend coming out of her life-threatening coma, she found herself replaying the last conversation that she had with Dick.
“Kara, this past week has been fantastic and has been everything I could have hoped for and more,” he said as he sat down next to her on the couch. “I want you to know that spending this time with you has been for more than just therapeutic reasons. I don’t want you to think that I’m using you for just that.”
“Oh, Dick, I know that,” she said. “I’ve never questioned you or your motives. If anything, I’ve found myself questioning mine.”
“What?” he said, surprised.
“Please, Dick, before I lose my nerve or before you say any more, let me finish saying what I have to say. OK?”
“Of course, Kara. I’m sorry.”
“Dick, you and I have been through a lot since I arrived here on Earth. And we have also shared almost a parallel upbringing. We’ve both lost our parents to tragedy, and it’s not exactly like we’ve lived the perfect childhood. You were out there alongside Bruce fighting maniacs like the Joker and Two-Face when you were still just a young boy. Combine that with what you experienced during World War Two and everything since then, and I don’t think that I’d be out of line by saying that you’ve led quite a life.
“And while I spent most of my life floating through space in suspended animation, and after everything I’ve been through since, it’s hard to believe that I’ve really only been around for a short time. When cousin Kal-L found me, he took me in and served as not only my mentor, but my only family as well.”
He nodded and smiled as he said, “Just like myself with Bruce.”
“Right. That’s what I mean,” she replied. “And that’s what I meant when I said that we have shared parallel lives. And since then, we’ve both found ways to emerge from beneath our mentors’ shadows and make our own marks in this world. And now with Kal-L gone, I find us sharing yet another similarity. With everything that has happened recently, from the passing of Kal-L and Helena’s injury, I’ve found myself reflecting on our own mortality, and I’ve realized that life can be pulled out from under you before you’ve had a chance to enjoy and appreciate the things that matter the most,” she said as she moved closer to him.
“And spending most of my entire life in limbo without contact with anyone has made me a little… inexperienced when it comes to addressing my feelings and interacting with others, although Helena and Kal-L have helped me with that as well. But the time that I have spent with you, Dick, has awakened a whole new set of feelings that I’ve never experienced before.” She looked into his eyes as she continued. “I’ve seen the way that Kal-L looked at Lois and the way that Hector and Lyta look at each other, and it’s during those moments that I get a chance to see love as it works its — for lack of a better word — magic.”
She said nothing else as she leaned in and softly kissed him on the lips.
In the sky just a few miles away from Paradise Island, Kara thought to herself, I can still feel the touch of his lips on mine. I can’t believe that it’s only been a few hours since I left Dick’s place, and I miss him already.
She suddenly slipped out of her thoughts as she spotted Paradise Island coming up in the distance. Her last thoughts were on Helena. I wonder how Helena will react when I tell her that I’ve fallen in love with her adopted brother? And with that last thought on her mind, she made her descent down to the island’s main temple.