by Vendikarr DeWuff
Arn Munro lifted the paper out of the typewriter and re-checked his report. Part of this job included written mission briefings to Control, head of the OSS. The paperwork was the worst part of the job, and Munro muttered to himself that he would have to get someone to handle it for him.
Operation Liberty: Mission Interrupted. Mission status — success.
The main objective of the mission, extraction of the defector Tsunami, had been achieved. Additionally, three U.S. servicemen and two additional mystery-men types were brought back.
Two wounded, no deaths for our squad. Actually, only one member of the squad, Captain Boomerang, was wounded. A Philippine national who joined us was also wounded. I am sketchy about casualties for the other side, but we do have two confirmed fatalities — the Italian archer Usil and the Japanese inventor Kamikaze. Kamikaze’s rocket boots were liberated and returned for analysis.
Captain Boomerang has stayed behind in Australia, recuperating from his injuries. He should be able to join us for the planned mission in North Africa after the new year.
“Matches” Malone has returned to Project M for further testing against his will. He performed admirably, and I would recommend he be given some measure of trust and freedom while serving with me.
Neptune and Tsunami acted out the cover story of her going to him with news of superhuman Axis agents. They have both now joined the All-Star Squadron, and Neptune will leak information about the All-Stars as needed to this organization. Again, I have to protest this particular action. This team and the members of the All-Star Squadron are on the same side.
Captain Storm and the three liberated U.S. servicemen are still at this facility, being detained by base security. Base commander has taken to calling them the Losers, which I find rather harsh. These men did come through for us when we needed them. I request they be released and returned to their respective branches of service.
The Filipino we liberated has expressed an interest in joining this organization. He seems to have the ability to transform his body into some sort of hulking thing made of rock. He has already selected the codename Fortress. I would recommend a little training for him and then put him into service. He could be useful in the North African mission.
The Mongolian going by the name Khan is somewhat of a mystery. He was liberated with Tsunami and was part of the Axis team. He claims he was forced to comply, and Tsunami backs up his story. When questioned about his remarkable blade, he told me he found it in the wreckage of an airplane in the mountains near Mongolia. It was a very strong, shaped metal he fashioned a handle for. This blade has an eerie glow and can cut through anything in one swipe. I have seen it in action against stone, metal, and bone. It does not appear to work for anyone else.
Khan revealed to me he had been a bandit, arrested by the Japanese and given the choice of execution or cooperation. He worked with the Japanese against his people until his opportunity to escape with Tsunami presented itself. I request he be added to the squad so I can keep an eye on him.
As a side note, we are getting a little heavy on the criminal element here. Can we find some law-abiding people to serve with us?
I am going on my approved leave and will return after Christmas, unless an emergency presents itself in that time.
Arn Munro (Agent Liberty)
Munro put the letter in its envelope and sealed it in the courier pouch for the trip to Washington, where it would be wired to England. He then grabbed his bag and headed out to the waiting plane that would drop him off in Denver so he could get home for Thanksgiving.
The plane touched down, and he sprung from his seat. The ride on the Air Corps carrier was very exciting.
“Whoa, Mite, wait for me,” said the man in the seat beside him.
“OK,” replied Dan, careful to avoid using his friend and mentor’s name; he couldn’t spoil the secret identity. “I’m glad Belle sent us out here. And glad I had the time off school,” said Dan.
“Well, it is Thanksgiving. And seeing as we both had nowhere else to be, I was glad to take this assignment.”
The two continued talking as they gathered their belongings and exited the plane.
“But saboteurs, here in Colorado? It sounds so unbelievable.”
“Well, it does, but the dam near here supplies power to a good percentage of the state. Plus, the nearby military installations. Can’t have Adolf and his Ratzis hurting that.”
“But, TNT, doesn’t an anonymous tip sound fishy?”
“Well, Mite, could be one of the rats had a change of heart. But don’t you worry; we’ll be careful.”
With that, the two headed for the waiting Jeep to take them out to the dam. It was a silent ride, and Dan Dunbar just watched the scenery go by.
As they neared the dam, Thomas N. “Tex” Thomas called to his partner, “Gunshots, Mite. Let’s go!”
TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite of the All-Star Squadron sped to the dam and drove into the waiting car of the fifth columnist. Men scattered everywhere, and more gunshots were heard. Dan noticed the wounded men in power company uniforms and pointed to Tex.
“Can’t help them now — we need to stop those thugs from getting away.”
A couple of the fifth columnists were laying on the ground after the assault, but three others got into a nearby car and started driving away.
“They’re getting away, TNT!” called Dan to his partner.
“Not for long! Let’s go.”
The two got back into the Jeep and sped off after the escaping saboteurs. As they got close, Dan saw something fly out of the speeding car and land in front of their jeep.
He pointed toward it, but TNT could not react in time as the hand-grenade detonated in front of their car.
In a facilility located beneath the Statue of Liberty, “Matches” Malone was escorted into a secured room, as they called it, but it was actually a nicer word for a cell. Despite what he had done in the Philippines, he was still a prisoner here on loan to Project Liberty.
He wished he was back at the base at that moment. He then stopped, surprised at that thought. He’d felt at home with those men, more at home than when he was with the family in Gotham, and certainly more at home than with the Army.
Munro treated him with respect. He knew Munro didn’t like him much, but that was all right; he wasn’t sure he liked Munro, either. But he felt a connection. Munro was the naive younger brother he didn’t have.
Professor Myron Mazursky entered the room with two army guards behind him. Mazursky was a scrawny, middle-aged man with eyes hidden behind large spectacles who was bald and had a white goatee. He was the very picture of the mad scientist, and for good reason; that’s exactly what he was. “Welcome back, my son. Preliminary reports show you more powerful than you demonstrated in our tests.”
“Well, being under fire pushes you to hit your high note, Doc.”
“Hmmmm… well.” Mazursky noted in his file, then commented, “We tried duplicating the accident that created your condition with no success. What is it that makes you different?”
“No success means what, Doc?”
“We lost the subjects, of course. But they were hardly worth the trouble. They were like you, Mr. Malone — criminal scum.”
“So I’m the lucky one, eh? What do you want, Doc?”
“Mr. Malone, we need more tests to determine why you are still alive. There is something very different about you.”
“You need more blood, Doc? Ya could have had the docs at the base draw that for you.”
“I’m afraid my needs are more demanding than just your blood, Mr. Malone.”
“Well then, what are your needs, Doc?”
“Well, an autopsy would be nice. But I have been told as long as the Liberty Project needs you, that won’t be happening. But I will have my pound of flesh,” the scientist said, snickering to himself.
Malone just thought to himself, Munro, you better need me back quick, ’cause I don’t doubt this loon will find a reason to carve me up.
Arn Munro was walking after dinner, headed up toward the dam. He liked to sit there and think when he was younger, and tonight he had plenty to think about. He had talked to his mother about Hugo Danner and how he’d learned that Danner was still alive.
His mother had told him about Danner, and Arn had promised never to reveal the secret to anyone. And he didn’t — even after the man he’d known as his father, John Munro, had passed away five years ago — until now. Danner was a topic he and his mom never discussed. The topic was just too painful for her.
The only problem was Arn had always been told Danner was dead. And now he learned his natural father was both alive and working for the Axis. It was a bit much to take. Arn’s mom told him it was best that he didn’t know his father was still alive. She didn’t want him looking for Danner.
Arn was very insistent about Danner. He would not refer to him as his father. He had a great dad already. And he would be looking for him now, not for a reunion but to bring him to justice.
As Arn was walking, he heard the sound of gunfire. Then again and again. He knew from the sound of the guns that it wasn’t hunters. He sprang to action, leaping into the air and landing very near the dam, just in time to see wounded laying about and a car speeding away from the dam, followed by a second vehicle. In the second vehicle he saw two people in costumes. He guessed that they must be some of the mystery-men he had been briefed about.
He ran to follow the cars, stopping only to check on the wounded. Ambulances had been called, so he took off down the hill to follow the cars.
TNT had swerved to avoid the grenade and instead ended up driving the Jeep off the road into a ditch. It turned over and stopped running with a loud crashing sound. Dan the Dyna-Mite slowly crawled out from under the Jeep, checking to see how hurt he was. He then noticed that his partner wasn’t moving.
“Tex!” shouted the youngster. “Wake up, Tex — the car might explode!”
He heard no response from his partner, and then he put his head to his chest. He sighed with relief when he heard a heartbeat. The teenager then started dragging the older man out from under the Jeep.
As he was dragging, he heard the sound of beating wings and, out of the corner of his eye, saw a horse’s leg. With relief, he thought Liberty Belle must have sent Sir Justin the Shining Knight out as backup. He stopped pulling and turned, while saying, “Sir Justin, boy am I glad–”
He looked and saw that it wasn’t his time-tossed associate, but a Viking woman atop a winged steed.
“Stand aside, boy. This one is near death, and I am charged with bringing his soul to Odin — and Valhalla.”