by JSAGL, partially adapted from Infinity Inc. #44, by Roy Thomas and Vince Argondezzi
The Silver Scarab hit the ground just as Nuklon and Fury emerged from the ruins of Hall Manor. “Good Lord!” Nuklon said as he sprinted toward the fallen form of his former comrade. “He fell from so high up, and his metal shell is on fire. Don’t look, Lyta! He’s mostly molten metal now!”
Lyta Trevor just stared at the glowing metal. “Let him burn. That’s not Hector… not anymore.”
Nuklon attempted to remove the Scarab’s helmet, letting heat phase through his body, but he couldn’t quite get a grip on the metal without burning himself. “But it’s all that’s left of him, dammit! Got to save him — arrr — if I can!”
Lyta averted her eyes, ashamed of her feelings and surprised at the forgiveness in Nuklon. “I’m sorry, Al. I forgot… you were his friend, too.”
High above, Northwind finally made contact with the Eye of Ra. He knew there were only two outcomes now: death or success. Only one was acceptable.
“Heed me, O Eye of Ra! I speak for Thoth, the lord of right and truth, whose words triumph over violence, and to great Ra himself, both heart and tongue! In the name of Thoth, I command thee to sleep! Sleep!”
The Eye of Ra shuddered, one last attempt to throw Norda Cantrell off, and then the power level dropped. The Eye began to shut down. Northwind had been successful. The Eye slowly dropped to Earth, a very relieved Norda on top of it.
“Yahoo! You did it! You did it!” cried Ray.
“Shhh!” whispered Northwind. “Be still, young Ray, lest you awaken the Eye before the spell has fully embraced in its slumberous chains. There is a final duty to be performed.”
Gently flying off the Eye, Norda turned to it once more. “Eye of Ra, return to the place of rest allotted to you by Shai and Reneenet, they who were fate and fortune in the ancient times. Go back and sleep beneath the sands of Egypt — and look upon the living no more.”
“It’s fading away. Well done, Norda,” said the Patriot.
“Thank you, Sylvester, but what of Hector and Hastor?”
The Infinitors watched Nuklon and Fury as Al carried the Scarab back to the group. “No breath — no pulse — just this Nth metal suit of armor. Not even a corpse inside.”
The silence was overwhelming as Nuklon dropped the suit to the ground. The head separated and rolled a foot or so from the rest of the hollow suit.
“Hey, guys,” Midnight said, breaking the moment. “Have you noticed that the fire is gone? I can’t even pick any heat traces. It’s as though the fire never existed.”
“That would be my doing!”
From the south, Doctor Fate had arrived with Jade, Corona, Obsidian, and the Huntress. Jade rushed into Brainwave’s arms, while Doctor Fate walked over to the Silver Scarab suit. Patriot pulled the Huntress to the side. “Where are the Hawks? We’ve got some terrible news for them.”
Helena Wayne knew instantly what Sylvester meant. She lost her father a few years ago, and her mother not long before that. Losing family was something you never fully recovered from. “They saw Dr. Hastor running through the woods as we approached. Norda had just taken down the Eye. They told us to go on ahead. They needed to handle her by themselves.”
Fury knelt down by the empty Scarab suit. “There’s nothing left, Doctor Fate. He’s gone.”
Doctor Fate was silent for a moment, his thoughts unknowable behind his golden mask, and then he spoke, “No, young Hippolyta, there may yet be a way.”
The branches scratched at her face as Dr. Hastor ran through the woods. She could feel that blood dripping down her arm, but she didn’t acknowledge it. The only thing that mattered was getting away to fight another day. She was so sure that this was her moment, that the Scarab would bring the ancient prophecies to fruition. Damn Hector Hall. Her revenge on Khufu and Shiera was still inevitable, but it angered her so to know that it might be yet another lifetime before it happened.
Hastor looked back momentarily to see if the Infinitors had followed her. She saw no one, and she was pleased. As she turned her gaze forward once more, she heard a gigantic swooping sound that made her stop in her tracks. She knew that sound. Her feet stopped moving as she heard the branches crackle and break. One landed in front of her, the other behind.
“No more running, Hath-Set. It ends here.”
In front of her stood the Hawkman, his golden helmet gleaming in the scattered light. His ever-present mace was at the ready as his other hand clnched and unclenched.
“Just give me an excuse, Hastor… just a little one…” Hawkgirl stepped closer to her ancient foe, her spear just inches from Hastor’s back. Shiera’s face belied her barely contolled rage. Destiny was at hand.
Hath-Set looked directly into Hawkman’s eyes. “You are correct, of course, Khufu. It has indeed ended here. I surrender.” She stuck her arms out for the Hawk to bind, much to his surprise.
“What? That’s it? No cry of vengeance? No bemoaning the ancient prophecies unfulfilled?”
Hath-Set grinned as a Cheshire Cat would, her fingers slowly turning inward toward the poison dart located within her bracelet. “Why should I? It may not be the revenge I expected, but it will suffice. I have taken your son from you. He’s dead, headed toward his next lifetime, where I will finally be able to use him to destroy you!”
His anger brimming over the top, Hawkman took his mace and was about to hit Hath-Set when he regained his control. Unfortunately, at the same moment, Hawkgirl let loose a primal scream. Hastor’s eyes bulged out, and she began to sputter as Shiera’s spear pierced Hath-Set’s cold heart. The poison dart in Hastor’s hand fell to the ground as she herself collapsed in a pool of blood.
“NOOO-OOO-OOO-OOO-OOO-OOO-OOO-OOO!” cried Hawkgirl as she realized what she’d done.
“Well… done… Shiera… I didn’t think… you had it… in… you…” Hastor gasped as the breath left her body and her brain shut down.
Prying the lance from his wife’s fingers, Hawkman took her by the arms. The Hawks both collapsed to their knees as Shiera sobbed uncontrollably.
“Carter… she… Hector… I thought she… oh, God, no… no… no… no…”
“I know, my love. I know. I almost didn’t see the poison dart until it was too late. You saved me.”
“But Carter… I didn’t… I…”
Hawkman hugged his wife close. “Hush, my love. It’s over.”
Back inside the ruins of Hall Manor half an hour later, the Infinitors had gathered along with Doctor Fate, the Huntress, and Corona. The Silver Scarab’s shell had been placed atop the altar where the shedded skin of Hector Hall was found. The crystal dagger had been laid carefully on the shell.
“Sly, what the heck is going on here? I don’t understand.” Roy Harper had posed the question of the hour, and Sylvester Pemberton was hard-pressed to give a good answer.
“If you did understand, Roy, you’d be a step ahead of the rest of us. I know you’ve never been exposed to a lot of magic before, outside of a couple of strange cases with the Law’s Legionnaires, but I’ve worked side-by-side with Doc Fate, and if he says that there’s a way to save Hector, I believe him, even if I don’t understand.”
The Infinitors continued to chat among themselves when Hawkman and Hawkgirl finally flew in. The Huntress rushed to greet them. “What happened to Hastor?”
Helena Wayne was about to question the Hawk further, but she knew that look on his face and let them pass. They headed toward the altar when they were stopped by Doctor Fate.
“Is that my son’s body? I want to see it.”
“There is no body, Carter Hall, only this.” Fate opened his hand to show a small beetle made of the same material as the Scarab’s suit. “The essence of your son is contained here. It is all that is left of young Hector, but with your arrival, we may be able to restore him.”
Hawkgirl swallowed, the lump in her throat getting exponentially bigger. “What do you mean, Fate?”
“Within this small scarab the life essence of your son exists, his soul. Hastor was incorrect when she thought that Hector was born without a soul. Had you not been the people you are, Hector might very well have been the child of prophecy. It was your love in particular, Shiera, that redeemed him and let his soul blossom instead of wither.”
Setting the scarab down on the altar, it scurried into the helmet of the suit.
“Now that we have everyone with a genetic connection to Hector here, we may begin the ceremony. Carter, Shiera, take my hands as we stand around the altar.”
Doctor Fate moved to the head of the altar as the Hawks moved to either side. They were about to clasp hands over the altar when Fate spoke again. “No, do not join hands with each other. Hippolyta, you must join us.”
Fury stepped forward, unsure of herself. “What? But I’m not a relative, Doctor Fate, just a fiancée.”
“No, but the child you carry in your womb most surely is.”
The Hawks looked at Fury with surprise for a moment, not sure what to say. Lyta Trevor took their hands, the tears falling down her face. “I didn’t know.”
“A grandchild, Carter! We’re going to be grandparents!”
“Be silent now,” said Fate. “There will be time for a joyous celebration once Hector is returned.”
Doctor Fate began the incantation, the language unknown to all but the Hawks. Lyta, Carter, and Shiera slowly closed their eyes as Fate spoke. They suddenly started to glow as Doctor Fate’s voice grew louder. The Infinitors had to shield their eyes, all but the Ray, who was mesmerized by what he saw in the light. The intensity became brighter and brighter, and then the whole room went white.
The light seemed to encompass everything and almost explode, when it suddenly vanished. As the Infinitors eyes slowly adjusted, they saw lying atop the altar the prone figure of Hector Hall, restored to life.
“It is done. We are successful.”
The Hawks and Fury slowly disengaged their hands but remained still, not sure of what to do. As if on cue, Hector began to stir and slowly sat up, swinging his feet to one side of the altar.
“Oh… my head… Where… where am I?”
Instantly, Carter, Shiera, and Lyta rushed to embrace their newly returned loved one. The reunion was short-lived, however.
“Get off me!” Hector screamed as he bolted from the table, leaving three very confused people standing in shock.
Shiera took off her mask and approached her son. “Hector, what is it? What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong? Haven’t you been paying attention? I almost killed everyone, and you ask what’s wrong? That’s pretty damn typical. You’ve always been clueless where I’m concerned.”
Hawkman was the next to approach, his joy at finding his son quickly dissipating. “Now just a minute, son. You can’t–”
“Shut up! Just shut the hell up, and don’t call me son. I’ve only been your son when it suited you, when it was convenient. The rest of the time I was just a burden. So you can just go to hell.”
Tears once again forming in her eyes, Hawkgirl pleaded with her son, “Why? Please, I want to understand what is hurting you so.”
“You really don’t know, do you? Ever since I was born, my earliest memories have been of my nannies and babysitters. You and Carter were always off on a dig somewhere, leaving me home with a stranger. Then I find out that you two are super-heroes, and before I know it, I’m off to boarding school while you return to your careers with the JSA. Hell, Norda spent more time with you than I ever have, and you ask me what’s wrong? Maybe if you had spent some time with your son — your son — none of this ever would have happened. But it did, and it’s all your fault — all of it.”
Lyta came forward, her emotions masked by a look of resolve. “Hector, please, you’ve been through hell and back. Don’t you think–?”
Hector came up to his ex-fiancée. “I don’t need any advice from you, Lyta. You’re the worst of all. Before Helene even started really weaving her web, I tried calling you, and you never returned a call, not one. You saw me that one night in December, but all you could talk about was what was happening to your dad, not even caring or seeing what was happening to me, and then you disappeared again! I called you for weeks, and you ignored me! So don’t suddenly pretend you care. You disgust me.”
Turning, Hector walked toward Northwind. “You, though, I owe a debt of gratitude — you and Doctor Fate. Even when the Scarab had almost taken one-hundred-percent control, you believed in me. Thank you.”
With that, Hector Hall left the ruins of Hall Manor. Hawkman took his wife in his arms as Nuklon tried to comfort Fury.
Sylvester Pemberton stepped forward but was stopped by Northwind. “Wait a minute. He can’t just walk out…”
“Let him go, my friend. The menace of the Silver Scarab is no more. I would have sensed it. But the aftermath, I’m afraid, may be with us for a while.”