Justice Society of America: 1978: Watch the Skies, Chapter 2: Signal from Space

by GernotCarl, JSAGL and the Golden Age Flash

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Unhappily, Johnny Thunder sat at the monitor-board view screen. “Dumb ol’ judge!” he muttered. “Saying I’m not me when I know good ‘n’ well who I am, durnit!”

Suddenly, his eyes widened in horror as he saw the armada of ships first appear, then disappear from the screen. “Say, you guys have gotta see this!” he yelled into the meeting room, where Hawkman, Green Lantern, Flash, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Starman were discussing strategies for Earth’s defense. No sooner did the words leave his mouth than those heroes appeared in the monitor room.

“Johnny, how’d we get here like this? We heard you say Cei-U, but I thought you didn’t have access to your T-bolt!” said Hawkman. “Besides, what’s the matter?”

“Look at the screen, Hawkman,” said Starman. “See that warped effect in the center of it? I’ve seen enough cloaking devices from our enemies to see it for what it is! It must be those aliens on their way to Earth! We’d better send out the red alert to all the members!”


Meanwhile, in the Ultra-Humanite’s headquarters, the Thunderbolt was struggling to free himself from a strange glass tube that the Ultra-Humanite had trapped him in.

“When I figure out how to siphon out your powers, Thunderbolt, I shall at last be able to power my weaponry!” said the villain, whose brain had been placed in the body of Dolores Winters, which had been preserved in ice for the past twenty years. “Let the JSA defend the Earth from those accursed aliens! Whichever side wins will then be too weak to stop me and my plans to conquer this sphere! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

I just hope enough of my magic got out to Master Johnny when I heard my magic word to do some good, thought the Thunderbolt. Hopefully one of the heavy hitters like Doctor Fate or Green Lantern will also notice the energy trail I set up, follow it, and rescue me before this dame can do anything like she claims she can!


Salem, Massachusetts:

The tower sat outside the city, lonely and foreboding. It had no doors and no windows, no apparent entrance of any kind. Inside was Doctor Fate, sitting cross-legged and floating in the air. Next to him was the glowing visage of Alan Scott, the Green Lantern.

“Let us know what you find out, Fate.” And the green hologram vanished.

Doctor Fate cast a spell, and an image of the Thunderbolt appeared before him. “He is trapped, yet he managed to leave a trail for me to follow. This is almost too easy.”

Fate was about to cast another spell when a voice boomed out from the shadows.

“Yes, old foe, how easy, indeed…”


JSA Headquarters:

“C’mon, Doc, are we done yet?” Johnny Thunder was lying on the examination table as Doctor Mid-Nite finished his work.

“Almost, Johnny, just one more thing.” Mid-Nite turned to Green Lantern and nodded. “All right, Alan, your turn.”

Alan Scott stepped up to the examination table and bathed Johnny in the light of the Green Lantern.

“Hee-hee! Alan, stop! That tickles!”

The glow faded, and Green Lantern looked at Doctor Mid-Nite. “It’s just as I thought, Charles. The Thunderbolt has somehow imbued Johnny with a small portion of his power.”

Mid-Nite helped Johnny off the table. “The question remains, then, why? And will it help us find the Thunderbolt?”

Just then, Starman poked his head into the room. “Sorry for interrupting, but there’s something on the monitor screen that you all need to see.”

“Is it the aliens?” Mid-Nite asked.

“No. Something worse.”


In the downtown business district of Metropolis was a computer company that was the world’s largest computer service corporation in the industry. It was appropriately named the Ultimate Computer Company.

In the office of Karen Starr, software specialist, she was wrapping up a conversation.

“All right, Ted. Let me know when you need me.” Karen pressed a button, and the view screen slid seamlessly back into her desk. She would not have wanted her employers to know that she was just chatting on a secure JSA com-link with Ted Knight, alias Starman. I wonder what they would think if they knew I was Power Girl?

The office door opened. “Karen, sorry to interrupt, but we’ve got a major problem. Are you online with the system?” asked Darren Cates, a senior programmer at UCC.

“No, I’ve been in work-station mode. Why?”

“Flip it over. You’ll see.”

As she did, lines of apparent gibberish flashed across her screen. To a Kryptonian eye, able to process it all, there was a definite pattern to it. “Where is this coming from?”

Darren scratched his head. “It’s coming down off our satellite uplink. We tried to terminate it, but we can’t.”

Karen stared intently at the console. “There’s a definite pattern to this. Darren, you and Cyndi jump on this. The pattern seems to be repeating itself. I want to know what it is. I’m going to help you.”


The White House, Washington, DC:

“Mr. President, Dolores Winters to see you.”

“Show her in.”

Inside the Oval Office, Dolores Winters made her entrance. The president walked up to Dolores and flashed his trademark smile. “Dolores, it’s been ages.”

Winters looked at the president and returned her smile. “Now, Jimmy, it hasn’t been all that long.” And Dolores Winters grinned as the president stared at her blankly.


“Say, you guys think we can find the T-bolt by ourselves?” Johnny Thunder asked his compatriots in Doctor Mid-Nite’s exam room. No sooner had he spoken these words than he, Green Lantern, the Flash, Starman, and Hawkman were whisked off to the Ultra-Humanite’s headquarters. Mid-Nite was spared only because he had gone off to check on his other patient, the Atom, who was still weak from the radiation tests Starman had performed on him.

“T-bolt!” shouted Johnny upon seeing his old friend trapped. “Get outta there! The Earth’s gonna be invaded soon, and we gotta help out!”

“I know, Master Johnny,” replied the Thunderbolt. “But the Ultra-Humanite has me sealed in here but good. Not only that, but he’s even in league with those no-goodnik alien invaders! He was promised Earth as his kingdom if he helped out, but he’s double-crossing them, using my powers to fire up his own weapons! The invaders are after Doc Mid-Nite, ’cause he wiped out the red plague years ago, overpopulating their world! These guys should be over Earth by now!”

Indeed, as Thunderbolt spoke these words, the JSAers’ signal devices rang out. “It’s a red alert!” shouted Hawkman. “Lantern! We can’t wait any longer! Break T-bolt’s prison open, and let’s get back to Headquarters!”

Green Lantern raised his ring finger and let loose with a power beam that smashed the container holding the Thunderbolt. In doing so, he inadvertently released knockout gas left behind by the Ultra-Humanite, and all of the heroes slumped to the ground, unconscious.


Meanwhile, at the White House, the Ultra-Humanite was receiving nuclear launch codes from the hypnotized commander-in-chief. “Thank you, Mr. President! These codes will come in handy should the JSA lose the coming war. I can then use them myself against the invaders, and if the JSA do win, they’ll be used against them!


In Salem, Doctor Fate was conferring with the astral image of the Brain Wave. “So, you speak the truth, Henry King. Several of the Justice Society lie helpless in Ultra-Humanite’s headquarters, while more battle in the skies above Earth against the villains from beyond the stars! This have I confirmed by way of mine crystal orb. But tell me, villain, why do you aid your foes?”

“I’m not doing this for any of you, Fate!” replied the Brain Wave. “As far as I am concerned, you fools can take your chances with the aliens, but I have a son and daughter whom I love, and I’ll even bargain with the likes of you to protect them!”


“Well, Al,” said Dr. Charles McNider, “I’m done with you for now. Whatever Starman has in store for you, it’s up to him from here out!”

“But I don’t feel any different, Doc,” said Al Pratt, the Atom.

“Only time will tell, Al, only time will tell! Now I’ve got to run. I have an appointment in Gotham with Bruce, and I’m already a little late!” yelled Doctor Mid-Nite as he ran out of the infirmary.


Meanwhile, at the Finger-Kane Memorial Hospital in Gotham City, Police Commissioner Bruce Wayne was awaiting the arrival of his family doctor for a much needed and required physical exam. He was sitting in the waiting room when Charles McNider finally arrived.

“Charles, where the hell have you been?” yelled Bruce. “I’ve been here for an hour already!”

“Sorry, Bruce. I was kept running some tests on Al Pratt,” replied McNider.

“Well, I have a city to take care of, Charles. Don’t you own a watch? It’s after six PM!” yelled Bruce.

“Sure I do, Bruce; I just can’t read it!” replied Charles with a mischievous grin on his face. They both strolled into the examination room, and Charles drew the curtain.

“I’m sorry, Charles,” Bruce apologized. “It’s just that I hate these damn bi-annual exams that the city makes me take!”

“I can sympathize, Bruce,” replied Charles, “but it keeps us doctors in business.”

The former Batman merely grumbled.

Suddenly, in the middle of the exam, the lights became very bright and then faded out to nothingness.

“What’s happening now?” inquired Bruce Wayne. The hospital was placed into the fading light of dusk and emergency generator lights.

Eee-eee-eee-eee-eee! What is that thing?!” The scream from the nurse’s desk pierced the ears of Commissioner Wayne and Dr. McNider.


Responding to the red alert, the Huntress arrived at JSA Headquarters, only to find it empty. This is odd. Why would they send out a red alert and not leave anyone here on monitor duty? she mused. As she entered the meeting room, the Huntress found evidence of a battle; the table was broken, the chairs were strewn about, and the west wall was cracked and collapsing, but no JSAers were to be found. Quietly she entered the monitor room, which was surprisingly untouched. The view screen was dark.

“The security cam should be able to tell me what happened here.”

The playback showed the Atom sitting at the monitor desk and reacting with shock at something on the monitor screen. He pressed the JSA signal alert. Within minutes, several JSAers arrived: Mister Terrific, Robin, the Star-Spangled Kid, Wildcat, and Wonder Woman. As the Atom began briefing them, something shattered the west wall. Quickly, the JSAers all fell except Wonder Woman. The Amazon princess put up a valiant effort, but the speeding figure was ultimately too much for her, and she also fell. The cameras then went blank.

As the Huntress switched the monitor to a news feed, she heard a moan from the other room. She carefully entered, her batarang at the ready. The meeting table suddenly moved, revealing Rex Tyler, the Hourman.

“Rex! My God, what happened here?”

Tyler looked around momentarily stunned, then focused. “Helena? What happened here?”

“I just asked you the same thing.”

Hourman rubbed his neck. “I’m not sure. I arrived here and found the others on the ground. Something hit me, and next thing I know, you’re here, and the others are gone.”

The Hourman and the Huntress returned to the monitor room and attempted to contact the other members who did not show up for the attack. The Sandman responded but was unable to help, and Doctor Fate arrived at JSA Headquarters, but there was no response from Batman, Doctor Mid-Nite, the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Johnny, Power Girl, Starman, or Superman.


Meanwhile, back at the Ultimate Computer Corporation, Karen Starr and several programmers were busy deciphering the alien signal from space.

“So far we’ve been able to determine that the intended recipient of this message is a doctor, but this language is so hard to decode,” Darren Cates said, looking over at Karen.

Karen smiled back at him. “That’s better than what we started with. Keep going.”

A worker popped into the room. “Uh, Karen, there’s something going on here in the city; I think you’d better see this.”

Karen saw her co-workers huddled around the television set, and what she saw left her stunned.


Back at JSA Headquarters, Doctor Fate’s attention was drawn to the view screen, which showed GBS News reporting from Metropolis.

“This is Steve Lombard coming to you live from Metropolis, where something very strange is happening atop the Daily Star Building. We switch you now to Lois Lane Kent of the Star, who is flying above the scene.”

Atop the building, the camera showed the bodies of the JSAers attacked earlier hanging from wooden beams, and a figure standing in front of them at the edge of the building.

As the camera zoomed in closer, the figure proved to be none other than Superman, his eyes blazing red as he laughed maniacally.

“People of Earth — today is the day your world becomes ours!”

And Lois Lane Kent recoiled in horror.

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