Cornelius was vain. Cornelius was careless. Cornelius was dead. A poor epithet, yet a true one. The solitary warder at the place of confinement in Atlantis had been all of the above, and now was dead.
He’d had little to do, for crime was almost unheard of in the kingdom of the man the surface world had briefly called Aquaman. Still, he did guard at least one deadly prisoner, until a visitor appeared magically and struck him dead with her glowing spear.
She was a curious sight, even in a realm beneath the waves that had known ancient glory and weird magic. She was beautiful, wearing an odd outfit that mixed Nordic splendor with Frederick’s of Hollywood. She moved silently, seductively, deadly.
Tossing back her blonde locks, she peered in at the lone cell’s prisoner. A beautiful blonde stared out at her in sudden interest. “Well, I know the mind can make a prison cell a paradise, but what an odd throne room you occupy, Your Majesty!” she cooed.
The tall woman in the cell wore only a white miniskirt, sandals, and a brief white top. “Who are you?” she asked.
“I am the enemy of your enemy; thus, I must be your friend!” she said, laughing a cold but girlish laugh.
“What do you know of me — or my enemies?” challenged the cell-dweller.
“I am Gudra, and you share my hatred for Princess Diana, Wonder Woman of the Amazons!” she said, stressing the word princess in malice.
“I should rule the Amazons,” shouted the prisoner. “I ruled Atlantis once!”
Gudra laughed and leaned languidly on the door. “You ruled merely one small city-state in Atlantis called Venturia decades ago. (*) And when you took over Venturia once more a decade past when that part of the continent of Atlantis had risen above the waves, the true monarch was away and unaware of your little usurpation until his surface allies like Wonder Woman told him how they ousted you. (*) And did not Wonder Woman beat you physically, too?”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Wonder Woman and the Adventures of the Undersea Amazons,” Wonder Woman #8 (Spring, 1944) and “Crisis in Eternity,” Justice League of America #135 (October, 1976).]
“I shall avenge that defeat if you free me.”
“Then be free and humble the Amazon,” said Gudra as she teleported away with the eager Atlantean. “Perhaps you’ll prove most royal as well, my pretty. Or shall I call you by your title, Queen Clea?”
In an elegant, spacious mansion in Georgetown near Washington, D.C., a pretty blonde girl sat in a crowded but comfortable bedroom on a pink canopied bed. She wore a pink baby-doll nightie and gazed around the room at its many awards, photos, and stuffed animals. Her name was Lyta Trevor, and her diary had been neglected for quite a while.
Lyta began to write.
I can’t believe it has been nearly a year since I last wrote in you. I have so much to tell. So much to do with Hector.
I never would have believed that he and I would have fallen in love and moved into a beach house together in California. We always teased each other as kids.
I’m now finally following in the family business (heroics, not the military!), and I am called Fury. We (Hec and I) are in our own group called Infinity Inc. We are public about everything. “The masks are off!” wrote the media. We just had a press conference not long ago.
Of course, I guess I should start with Mother. She has influenced me for better and worse all my life. I think — notice I said I think — Mom approves of me as Fury and with Hec.
I hope our love will be timeless. His parents were time-crossed lovers, and Mom and Daddy were just made for each other! Talk about pressure! How does a girl live up to reincarnation? Hec jokes about drinking “reincarnation breakfast drinks… and being full two lives later!”
Dad was the first man Mom ever saw! Period. He crashed on her Amazon isle and was left for dead by a rat named Von Storm, a Nazi, natch.
She fell for him while nursing him. They say that happens. I find it romantic. He called her “his lovely Angel!” He calls me “Little Angel.”
Mom left an island of Paradise where she did not age and was, in fact, the princess of the whole place, to be with Dad. He motivated her to go out into “man’s world” and help him fight the Axis and other sources of non-Amazonian ideology.
She didn’t get the job through nepotism, either! Grandmother, Queen Hippolyta, actually, staged a contest of all Amazons to determine who should act as a champion and accompany Dad. You can imagine how Mother worried over the outcome.
She and her best friend Mala were the final two. Mother won and was given her famous costume, the golden lasso, and an invisible plane! She brought Dad back to D.C., and as Wonder Woman saved him and democracy countless times. I know she even took on a second I.D. as a timid nurse/secretary Diana Prince to be close to him always.
In Japan, a silent garden contained beauty. It had tiny trees and wind chimes that echoed musically throughout the peaceful and costly abode.
On this day it also held death — death in the voluptuous form of Gudra the Valkyrie. She passed unseen and unchallenged into a sick room. Smiling, she waved her glowing spear over the quiet form of an old woman. This was Gudra’s second visit to royalty that day. Gudra valued little of mortal titles, but she knew quality and saw it in this wizened woman.
“I give you youth anew, Princess Maru!”
The old woman, instantly young again, wore a fierce look in her eyes. “Who are you? Why have you gifted me in this way?” asked Princess Maru.
“I seek revenge on our common foe, Wonder Woman. You — distant relative of the Japanese emperor — know of her from old, do you not?”
Maru smiled. “I see. I do seek the dishonoring and death of the Amazon. I will do as you say.”
“This land of neon and commercialism is much changed since the war your Axis allies lost,” Gudra said maliciously.
Maru frowned. “I know of the decay in a once-rich traditional land. I see it as due to the work of the Americans and their champion, Wonder Woman!”
Hiding a smile, Gudra agreed. “Then do all you may to pay her back! Go, fight once more, Princess Maru — alias Doctor Poison!”
I know it bothered Mom that all those long years in which she stayed with Dad as both Diana Prince and Wonder Woman, he never put the two together.
He was so blinded by love of Wonder Woman that he could not see her right under his nose in the next office where she worked as secretary to his boss, Col. Darnell!
Dad was quite a looker back then! He was handsome and fearless, and under that heroic exterior beat a caring and oddly naive heart. He is still an old softy! I can get my way with him with a hint of a pout, while nothing sways Mother’s stern stoic warrior princess demeanor! Not that she’s cold or unfeeling!
She surely felt love for Dad from the start. Of course, she had rivals in her very military office. Dad’s secretary Lila Brown was pretty, flirty, and a real witch! (Notice I wrote witch, if you ever read this, Mother.)
Lila wanted the handsome, brave, heroic Steven Trevor all for herself. Imagine how the poor girl felt when a new rival shows up in the next office and ends up outranking her in the military office pool by getting a job with her employer’s boss!
(The fact that Mother could type so fast that she burned up the typewriter keys with sheer friction was something Lila could not know, but Diana’s speed made all the office girls marvel!)
Lila’s kid sister fell into a bad crowd (Nazis again!) but ended up as Holliday College’s latest and most paddled pledge of ’42. Her name was Eve, and she works at the newly renamed Holliday Finishing School for Snobby Rich Brats! (OK, maybe I lied about the last part of the school name.)
Gudra approached a solitary Amazon on the sandy shores of Paradise Island. “Orana, I read your inner pain! I know you feel aggrieved, even after fifty years that you did not venture to Man’s World instead of Diana. You sought to compete, but something stopped you.”
Orana, an attractive redhead, was shocked to see a strange woman on this familiar island. Shaking back her red locks, she posed defiantly. “Who are you to claim to know of my pain?”
Gudra laughed and replied, “I am a foe of your rival, Diana. She was not as fast as you, or as fiery. How could she have beaten you, I wonder?”
“I was ill on the day of the contest,” said Orana bitterly. “I was forbidden entry. I see now that, as you suggest, it was due to some royal trickery. I was purposefully robbed of my right!”
Gudra smiled. “And I would grant you a second chance if you’ll fight Wonder Woman as I bid.”
Orana smiled. “I will beat her! I will show all who the true Wonder Woman is!”
I know Dad loved Mother and still does! He recently risked his life to stop her when a complicated series of events led her to a mad rampage of sorts. (That happens to the best of families, you know!) Seriously, Mother tried to steal the secrets of youth from a museum when something called a Stream of Ruthlessness possessed her.
She ended up hurting him accidentally when he bravely tried to bring her to her senses. She took him for treatment on Transformation Island, which is a… suburb (!) of Paradise Island. Men are allowed there in rare cases.
They healed him with a magical thing called the Purple Healing Ray. Mother’s friend Paula made it after years of battles with Mom when Paula was a Nazi agent.
Now Dad is recovering just fine after a nasty trial in which Mother’s whole JSA team was smeared by a foe. They are with friends near D.C.
Dad was of Welsh stock. His folks came from Wales at the turn of the century, and they instilled that zest for life he has. He also has that love of adventure and of storytelling Mother says comes from the Welsh of lore. They were all bards mad for music and adventure, she says.
Dad did barnstorming before the war back in Indiana where his folks farmed. He had an old biplane and loved flight even in his teens.
I can fly, too. Summers on Paradise Island taught me Amazon skills like combat, kanga-riding, and, as Dad delighted, piloting!
I once took Mother’s invisible plane for a joy ride. Grounded big time in more ways than one!
Mother and Dad never did come together until December, 1962, decades after their first meeting. It took an old enemy of Mother’s to do the trick. Seems he revealed her identity to a stunned Dad during a case, and the rest is history. Once Dad knew, it did not take long for him to convince her that there was no need to wait “until she had vanquished all evil” to marry.
I keep their wedding photo on my desk. Mother wore her costume! It just seemed right! Dad stood by with Col. Darnell as his best man. Mother had her pal Mala as maid of honor. It was the only time a Methodist minister and a Greek goddess of love worked together to perform a ceremony!
It happened on Paradise Island. Well, above the Island, since the males could not step off the green energy platform Mother’s pal Green Lantern had created. Flash and his wife, Superman and Lois, and a couple other JSAers attended.
It’s funny. I always thought of Mother as THE super-heroine. I knew Liberty Belle existed, but had retired. I never met her daughter Jesse until recently. I had heard of Black Canary, though she died before I ever met her. It always seemed like Mother and “the boys,” as she called them, were the only mystery-people out there.
Germany: the name evoked images not of fairy tale forests and cheerful villagers, but of death, destruction, fear, and, above all, of the engineer of these dark forces, Adolf Hitler. Even forty-plus years later in a city with a wall, no one truly forgot the terrors of the past.
One woman who certainly never forgot or forgave was approached by Gudra on her recruiting mission. She was a former Gestapo agent named Fausta Grables, and her leader in 1943 dubbed her the Nazi Wonder Woman. (*) In 1944 she was given super-powers by Nazi science and a bit of Nazi magic, and was sent to kill Wonder Woman. She failed.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Wonder Woman, Comic Cavalcade #2 (Spring, 1943).]
Fausta returned in shame to a ruined Berlin where she waited forgotten for decades. She did not age. She did not weaken, but still she waited.
Now, as strong and lovely as she was in 1944, Fausta received a call from Gudra. She may have known her mistress’ voice from old. She certainly didn’t hesitate.
Dressed anew in her tight black thigh boots with spike heels and wearing a halter above her taut abs and black hot pants, her white-blonde locks pulled back severely, Fausta set out to join this mission of revenge initiated by a laughing Gudra.
When Mother finally left the service, she had made Major. She came a long way from a lowly nurse in those unenlightened days.
She and Dad married, and she gave up being Diana Prince for good. They publicly announced the wedding in Libby Lawrence’s column, among other places.
When I was born I was named Hippolyta for Grandmother. Mala was my godmother. Mother’s closest mortal pal, Etta Candy, was always there, too. Funny, she went from Holliday College party girl and constant candy-eater to the thin, elegant wife of the older Col. Darnell! They really became a love match! Mother was thrilled. Now, Etta runs the Holliday Finishing School along with her old pal Eve Brown.
Etta’s bookish daughter Holly Darnell was my closest friend growing up. I haven’t seen her in almost a year!
Growing up as Wonder Woman’s Daughter was not all fun. “Wonder Bra” echoed out as I walked the halls at school… until I tossed Tommy Jenkins over a row of desks! That shut him up! I loved school and won awards. Mother wouldn’t let me do sports due to my unfair Amazon advantages, but I was head cheerleader and made homecoming queen, too.
Daddy snapped photos all through my childhood! It seems a camera was part of his left arm! I never mingled with other JSA kids except for summer visits from Rick Tyler, Hector, and Al, etc.
Now, we’re all in Infinity Inc. together… except for Rick. Nobody’s asked him yet. I am expecting my female teammates to join me tonight for a slumber party — really a get-acquainted party. No men allowed. Jade (Jennie-Lynn) seems sweet and kooky, while Kara is a bit hard to get to know. Helena is nice, though. She may be the smartest woman I know.
I should backtrack and add that I met Hec again after years apart at college in California. Oh, how I had to work on Daddy to get to move out west! Hec and I shared a class together. Things moved fast, and we became lovers, and we tried to join Mother’s team: the JSA. We made second best. We joined a team all our own with a few young JSA types.
I am a Kinesiology major. Daddy and Hec say I’m brainy, and I did do great in school. I guess movement and physical activity are natural things to interest the child of superhuman ancestors with the sheer power to toss cars. I see motion in flight, too, so I guess it all ties in somewhere.
Got to stop. I see my gal pals have arrived.