Miss Terrific, alias Geri Sloane, jumped high in the air, caught the edge of a door frame, and executed a perfect aerial spin, from which she straightened to land both feet solidly into the purple-hooded thug below her. She whirled to toss an ashtray through the air to deflect a thrown dagger away from the woman huddled on the floor.
“Don’t worry, Irina, we’ve almost got them all!” she said to Ted Grant’s wife.
Wildcat slammed his fist into another member of the Purple Hood Gang, which had invaded his home following the revelation of his identity. “These mugs really steam me! A guy’s home is his castle!” he said as he dodged a swung chair and elbowed the nearest thug in the chin.
The Atom lifted a thug high over his head and tossed him bodily into the remaining gang members. “Glad I was able to get you-know-who to safety before any unwelcome guests showed up at my place,” he said.
Miss Terrific felt guilty for the misery brought upon her honorary uncles by her double. She wondered just how this impostor could know all she knew and more.
She assumed it was a clone. That seemed scientifically sound in her circles. She knew a good deal about the science herself, among many other disciplines, ranging from biochemistry to belly-dancing. She sighed out of the frustration of not knowing any answers for certain.
The frightened Irina Grant embraced Wildcat. “Oh, Ted, how can we ever know peace again?”
“We may have to move into JSA Headquarters for a time,” said Ted Grant, “or even set up new identities.”
“No!” cried Geri. “I have to fix things. Dad would have. I know he would have.”
The Atom patted her back. “Look, Miss Terrific, you can’t beat yourself up for what this twin or clone or alien body-snatcher did! I was hotheaded to mouth off at you about it earlier.” She smiled and nodded. Still, she felt guilty.
“I have a plan,” said the Atom. “We know from what the other kids in Infinity Inc. said that someone impersonated Fury and took the cosmic belt and David Knight’s cosmic rod. That means cosmic energy, and we can trace that!”
“No luck,” said Miss Terrific, shaking her head. “Whoever this woman is, she is good. I tried to track unusual amounts of stellar power with a device I put together with the Flash. No sign of it. My twin shielded her lab very effectively.”
“What’d Sylvester say?” asked Wildcat with concern for his old pal.
“He’s gone! No one has seen him. I guess the woman, evil Geri or Madame Mayhem, if you prefer, took him, too!” she said. “I do have one idea,” she added. “Perhaps I could offer myself as bait. Put out an opportunity too good for this woman to pass up. I do know how she thinks, after all. If she hates Dad’s legacy so much, then can you imagine how she’d react if we announced a new International Fair Play Club being founded?”
“Yeah, she’d freak!” said Wildcat. “I mean, she may be a genius, but from what we’re seeing, if she is some clone or double of your former role, then she can’t resist attacking the Sloane legacy. You — I mean she — trashed our statues before!”
“But how can you fund it?” asked the Atom. “I thought she’d stolen the Sloane wealth!”
Geri Sloane wore a pale green evening gown with matching high heels. The press snapped photos as she announced the groundbreaking for the first Fair Play Club in England.
“This is but the first of many planned centers where the ideals my father Terry Sloane embodied may be preserved and perpetuated with a new generation,” she said.
Ted Grant grinned. “Having Green Lantern, the Flash, and Power Girl do the work really brought the new construction along in epic time.”
Al Pratt nodded. “And the Wayne Foundation grant from Helena and Dick paid the extras.”
“Will she show?” wondered Ted with worry.
“Oh, yeah,” whispered Helena Wayne. “And when she does, she’ll get a nice surprise.”
“She knows all our secrets,” said Karen Starr. “Aren’t you worried you’ll go from legal eagle to tabloid pinup?”
“Nope. We can shut her down when she strikes. She seems determined to eradicate her poor dad’s legacy,” said Helena.
“Is she a clone or what?” asked Karen, resplendent in a white gown with a side-split to her thigh.
Helena, all in black, said, “Jay even suggested it could be a Geri from an alternate timeline.”
“After being a mystery girl called Lightning Girl in the 1940s and growing up with the Danvers in the 1950s,” sighed the pouty blonde, “I can readily accept time travel hoo-doo as much as anyone!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Power Girl: Kara’s Quest.]
Geri Sloane concluded her speech as applause and then fire broke out.
The team of super-villains empowered by Madame Mayhem attacked from all sides. The evil Madame knew this was a trap, but she was mad enough to suppress her normal caution for the chance to tear down Terry Sloane anew.
Geri rolled aside as flames gutted her platform, while Power Girl’s super-breath blew them out as she and her pals changed into costume at top speed, hidden by the crowds and the building itself.
Madame Mayhem wore the red-masked costume she had made notorious as the leader of the Anarchy Society of the World and led an odd but obviously powerful gang. “The hypocrisy of the Sloan family dies here!” she shrieked.
Geri kicked off her high heels and caught her twin with a swift side-kick.
Madame Mayhem grabbed her extended leg before she could withdraw it and tossed her on her back. “Nice moves. Too bad I know them all!” she said, kicking out at her fallen counterpart.
Geri rolled into a back flip and came up to smack her masked foe in the nose. She pulled off the mask and revealed her exact features, as she had suspected.
Power Girl landed on the platform as smoke billowed away from the fires she had smothered. She fell back as a black-costumed thug tackled her and actually brought her to the ground.
“You’re pretty tough for a dame!” he sneered.
She noticed a black diamond emblem on his chest. “Really? Well, you’re pretty geriatric for a costumed creep!” she snapped as she gazed through his mask.
“I am old but as strong as you, doll!” he said with a grin. “I’m the Black Diamond! I once fought the Batman!”
She kneed him below the belt and belted him across the stage. “No doubt he was less impressed with you than I am!” she said, smiling.
Geri could not get enough time to put on her costume as her double fought fiercely. “I can melt you to pulp with the rod and belt, if I choose!” sneered Madame Mayhem.
Geri circled warily. “You could, but you prefer using the skills our father taught you.”
“He never taught me anything!” snapped Madame Mayhem. “He wanted a son, you simpering idiot!”
“He loved me,” replied Geri. “He taught me the very tricks I’m going to use to bring you down!” She tossed a right hook that shattered her double’s jaw. The baiting is getting to her, she thought. She may know me well, but she is completely irrational about Dad.
The red-caped Blaze jumped forward. “Let me cook her!” he crowed.
“Leave her to me!” cried Madame Mayhem. “All of you! Concentrate on the JSA like Karen Starr, alias Power Girl, and Helena Wayne, alias the Huntress!” she shouted toward the film and TV crews.
The Huntress winced as her identity was revealed before a nationwide audience. She flipped up and away from the stretching, elongated limbs of Mister Fingers.
“Come closer, dearie! I want to touch you!” he said madly. His rubbery hands wrapped around her and pressed her down as she slipped out a pellet from her belt. He made contact with it and screamed, “What is this goo? I can’t feel anything through this putty!” He almost cried out of frustration.
The putty-smeared Huntress smiled as the whining villain tried to stretch free of the putty. “It won’t come off for hours,” she announced. She belted him in the face and was pleased to learn that his body could still suffer impact damage, even though he could elongate his arms.
She spun around to kick him flat, and as he fell, she added a final punch. “So much for Mister Fingers,” she said.
Power Girl fought Black Diamond as he charged her again. She leaped upward and kicked him through the stage. He did not rise again.
Wildcat met the grinning Ice Ingram — an old foe of Doctor Mid-Nite — as he shot freezing spears of ice toward the black-clad hero.
“So when do ya say it?” asked Wildcat as he flipped across the stage to dodge the sharp projectiles.
“Say what?” asked Ice as he tried futilely to hit the agile man.
“That you’re gonna put me on ice! Your type has to say that kind of line. It’s the setup for my saying something like, ‘It’ll be a cold day, an’ all that, before I clock you.'” Grant grinned as he drew close and slammed the deadly fists he had used so long and so well into the bald man’s nose. One punch dropped the cosmic-powered thug. “I guess he had a super-power, but couldn’t stand the heat when it came down to a real fight! The kids might tell him to chill out!” he laughed.
The Atom dodged a silent man who brought the metal of the construction site flying toward him. He had no idea who the Magnet was or that he had once fought Zatara. He merely summoned his atomic power and exploded the projectiles with his fists as they rained down on him.
He kept fighting through them like a determined tank. He slowed as the metal barrage increased, but he did not let the obstacles stop his progress. He had been faced with many roadblocks in his life, ranging from mocking peers, insecurity, and accidents that altered his very body chemistry, but Al Pratt was a hero, and he never gave up. His old mentor Joe Morgan had taught him that steely vigor long before. He kept swinging until, to his relief, he saw the battered Magnet lay before him.
Got to end this for Mary before the madness gets worse. Plus, Terry Sloane was too good a friend for me to let this twisted version of Geri taint his image, he mused as he belted at the fiery Hot Shot. “You fought Hawkman years ago!” he said.
The red-skinned Hot Shot laughed. “I did, at that, little man! Where is he? I’d relish a chance to burn him to cinders.”
The Atom winced at the heat the body of this crook emitted. Every touch hurt even his radiation-resistant body. He swallowed hard as the smoke pouring from the body of the flaming man choked him. He closed his eyes and hit the man with all his power. Both fell to the ground, and neither moved.
Wildcat saw it all and rushed toward Al, only to be sliced across the chest by the energy-generating Madame Mayhem.
“I can’t resist using Uncle Ted’s trinket on you,” she taunted him.
Miss Terrific tried to catch a second wind as Wildcat dueled her evil twin. That rod she’s holding might be the way to beat her, she thought. Glad I thought to bring this item Ted once loaned me.
She waited until Wildcat had rolled aside before she kicked the rod from Madame Mayhem’s hand, then slipped a second one from out of her voluminous ball gown. They rolled across the stage together, and Geri pretended to be stunned.
Madame Mayhem rose up and laughed, “You think you can psychoanalyze me? You think you know my mind, and I won’t use the rod on you? I’ll show you how I’ve adapted as we’ve fought. I’m smarter than anyone. I have thousands of talents. It’s my birthright!” She clutched for the second and closer rod that Geri had secretly slipped to the stage.
When Madame Mayhem touched the second cosmic rod, she screamed and shuddered in pain before remaining both still and surrounded with a white nimbus that slowly died out.
The Huntress wrestled Nick Crock down, even as the now-super-strong thug slapped her across the stage. Then Power Girl charged him, and as they exchanged blows, the old gangster smiled. “In my youth, I fought the Atom, but you are a real dish!” said Nick.
“Funny you should say that, since you’re going to need a dental plate when I’m done!” said Power Girl, winning the fight with a sudden left hook.
The heroes gathered around the tattered figure of Geri Sloane as she gazed down at her beaten evil double.
“Your plan worked from beginning to end. Terry would be proud,” said the Atom as he hugged Miss Terrific.
“Well, once we knew she had the rod and belt, it seemed a logical deduction that a trick Starman once used would work on her. We rigged a duplicate rod so that it would send a powerful stellar shock through the nervous system of anyone who tried to turn it on. It was perfectly safe as long as it was cut off. Madame Mayhem’s own hatred and murderous passion brought her defeat.”
“You did good, kid. He knows it, too!” said Wildcat as he pointed up at a statue of Terry Sloane.
Geri nodded and smiled at the idea.
“And so I recovered the missing Foundation money from her lair and returned the rod and belt to David,” said Miss Terrific. “Apparently, whatever has happened to the Patriot occurred after Madame Mayhem beat him and took the belt.”
“We’re gonna have to look into that, along with his team,” said Ted Grant.
“As for the other Geri, she is back on Transformation Isle with Mala and Paula,” said Geri.
Al Pratt grinned. “You and Paula sure saved the day! Using a reversal of the Amazon memory learner and the cosmic rod as a power source to erase all memory of the tape and the comments that revealed our secrets was a brilliant idea.”
“I had to use it to remove the evil Geri’s memories of all of your secrets, too,” added Miss Terrific.
“Could they come back in time?” said Wildcat. “I mean, she has a gifted mind and a photographic memory.”
“Paula says she’ll try to keep that from happening,” replied Miss Terrific. “She’ll also try to cure Madame Mayhem.”
“I recall that Egri guy who developed the cosmic power device that gave those losers their powers,” said the Atom. “But he died back in the 1940s, and all his research was destroyed.”
Geri nodded. She had her own theory about the death of the JSA’s old foe. She knew from the JSA’s case files that Felix Egri had been disintegrated by his own devices, seemingly due to his own folly, but she wondered if that death had been planned somehow. And if that were possible, she also wondered how much other time-travel misery her twin may have wrought.
In the far future, Black Barax laughed. “A good show. My evil ancestor will eventually conceive my forefathers, as history shows, and will return to even kill a forgotten mystery-man. Miss Terrific will achieve lasting fame, too. I wonder if they will ever fight again. The distortions of time prevent me from knowing that delightful bit of family history. Still, she did drive old Carter Sloane to crime. That is a nice bit of irony, indeed! As for the Patriot, I believe he is in the clutches of an old enemy of his own. How will that play out?”
He settled back on his throne and watched his screens with delight. Being trapped in his own era due to the chronal energy he had absorbed during his last ill-fated fight with Mister Terrific was not so bad after all.