by Starsky Hutch 76
Ma Hunkel swept into the lab just in time to see the members of the Junior JSA laying into Damage to give him the kinetic energy he needed to pump himself back up. “What the stew is going on here?!” she cried. She grabbed Superboy’s wrist and said, “Didn’t yer pa ever tell you not to pick on those smaller than you?”
“It was the Thinker, Ma,” Batwing said. “He created devices to take us all down. Grant, here, had all the energy sucked out of him. We’re trying to get him back to normal.”
“You’re skin and bones!” Ma Hunkel said in alarm. “Nothing Ma’s meat and potatoes can’t take care of.”
She looked around at the condition of the JSA Brownstone. Huge cracks were running up and down the walls. “Oh, Lordy,” she said woefully. “The guys are gonna kill me.”
“Not if we can help it,” Star Sapphire said, hugging her.
“Yeah, Ma,” Flare said. “Without you, we’d be goners for sure.”
“You saved all our lives,” Arrowette added.
“Really?” Ma said.
“Really,” Batwing said. “You broke the connection the Thinker had. He was in the process of overwriting himself. If you hadn’t been here, I would’ve been his first victim.”
“Well, nobody picks on Ma’s kids and gets away with it,” she said, hugging him to her. She looked down at him and said, “One of these days, you and me are gonna have to talk about that hair.”
“Ah, Ma…” he said, grinning.
Whiz Kid, who’d been a blur for the last several minutes as he rewired the computers, stopped and moved his hands over the keyboards faster than the eye could see. “He’s no longer anywhere in the system. And I checked everywhere. Do you think he was wiped out?”
In a hidden laboratory on the outskirts of town, a pale figure in a tank suddenly bolted upright, splashing amniotic fluid onto the sterile floors. Medical droids moved forward to try to deal with the disturbance, and he pushed them back both physically and with a telepathic command.
Gagging, he coughed the fluid up from his lungs. One of the robots handed him a scalpel, and he severed the umbilical cord from the apparatus of the artificial womb. Next, he pulled the electrodes from his head that had served to transfer his consciousness.
One of the robots handed him a mirror, and he surveyed his new form. Pale, but nothing a little time out in the sun wouldn’t take care of. Otherwise, it was a stronger, fitter, younger Clifford Devoe he was looking at.
He had hoped to use the boy’s body as another knife in the heart of the JSA. For now, though, all those plans would have to wait. He’d be back, though. You couldn’t keep a true thinker down forever.