Showcase: Injustice Unlimited: Dishonor Among Thieves, Chapter 8: Summoned by the Starheart

by Libbylawrence

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Meanwhile, back on Earth, a battle was raging between Star Sapphire and her pawns and the Council’s female agents. The matriarch of the Seventh Dimension was relentlessly marching forward through Gotham City, and her enslaved allies were using all their own resources to hold off Bellatrix, Americana, Cyclone, and Bombshell.

Star Sapphire laughed and said, “Clearly, your puny dimension can only spawn females who are as weak as your lesser-gendered beings!”

Americana flipped acrobatically out of the line of fire as the Monocle’s special lens flared with energy and ripped a jagged line in the pavement. The blonde had been trained by her father, the elusive Tex Thomson, but she had specialized in the type of covert disguise or espionage missions that he had so excelled at over the years. This type of direct combat was new to her, and in truth she was unhappy with her progress.

I’ve dodged and occupied the Monocle for long enough! she thought as she dived forward into a tight roll. I’m really just a costumed acrobat who can use a whip! That job description doesn’t equip me as a world beater! She lashed out with her extendable whip and knocked the lens off Monocle’s face. He grimaced but did not cry out in pain from the lash, since his will was not his own. Before he could replace his lens with a duplicate, the girl in red, white, and blue was on him, and a stinging punch left him stunned at her feet.

Americana smiled in relief for a second before being struck by a barrage of thorns created by Sumac. Before the projectiles could prove lethal in their speed and number, Bombshell jumped over the fallen patriot and began to batter her way forward through the spray of sharp thorns.

“This is a joke!” she bellowed as she grabbed the plant-man and pulled back one powerful fist. “My skin can shatter them before they even penetrate!”

Sumac then opened his mouth and spat a cloud of spores into her face, and she dropped him in surprise.

“Can’t breathe! Can’t even see!” roared Bombshell. She smiled through her tears and slammed both hands against the ground. An explosion shook the ground, leaving Sumac injured and still. Bombshell wiped her face with the back of her hand and said, “I didn’t need to see you to blast you to kindling, you walkin’ tree!”

Cyclone, the robot controlled by the agent called Red, flew skyward and raised its hands to emit tightly focused gusts of air that deflected Black Arrow’s equally lethal arrows. He ignored the results and mechanically aimed and fired again and again. Finally, Cyclone said, “The robot is still too stiff for me. I can’t get anything accomplished!”

Bellatrix cursed and hurled a piece of pavement at Black Arrow. Thanks to her remarkable ability to mimic any physical feat that she had witnessed, she could throw with the same precision that Black Arrow possessed. The fragment of ground struck his hands and caused him to drop his bow.

Before he could grab it again, Bellatrix had leaped through the air to land on his chest with both feet. She rolled forward and elbowed him in the back of the head before grabbing his hair and pulling him off his feet. She jabbed his throat and left him in her wake as she continued to move closer to Star Sapphire. I have to shut her down! She is the puppet master! mused the redhead. Bellatrix never got her chance, since a crowd of enslaved men surged out of the nearby subway system to charge at her and her friends.

Paul Kirk Jr. frowned as he watched and listened to images and sounds fed to him via the monitoring devices in the abandoned sky craft that were operated by Blue and White. “I feel so helpless!” he said. “If only Tex, Bill, Lance, Giovanni, and the dozens of others who work for the Council could help them! All our male agents would merely fall under her spell, though. That is why I’ve had to make do with our only female agents.” Still, as he gripped his cane, he pondered how, if nothing else was a constant in his life, his ability to impatiently wait and watch was still present.

Americana staggered toward the sky craft as she kicked free of the grasping hands of three enslaved citizens. “I can’t fight back with my full prowess,” she said. “I can’t hurt helpless innocent folks!”

“Just sit there and look pretty, little lady,” yelled a man in black as a second group flew into view. “The JSA is here, now! In fact, we been watchin’ you via G.L.’s ring! Better than cable!”

“Wildcat! Green Lantern! The Atom!” said Paul Kirk Jr. as he recognized the newcomers on his video screen.

Green Lantern had left Alana Miller with Doctor Mid-Nite, since he knew his friend could possibly do the troubled girl some good until he could rejoin her and talk over everything that had led her to adopt her costumed role. Charles isn’t a mental health specialist, but I couldn’t ask for a better or more compassionate physician to attend to her, he thought, shielding the women with his ring’s energy sphere.

Wildcat collared the fallen Monocle and jerked him to safety. “I guess we can’t let this punk get walked on,” he said. “No need to ruin people’s shoes!”

The Atom grinned and said, “You’re all heart!” He frowned as he helped the towering Bombshell to safety. “I saw what you did back there! Just who are you?” he asked.

“Funny you should ask!” said the blonde heroine. “My father was known as Dan the Dyna-Mite! He sort of had powers like your atomic punches!”

“Of course!” said the Atom. “I knew I had witnessed something similar to your powers before! But I don’t have those powers anymore! I just get by with my natural skills!” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See The Atom: Atomic Attraction.]

Bombshell nodded and said, “Yeah? But… why are you glowing?” She referred to the fact that both Wildcat and Atom had a faint green glow around their bodies.

“It’s G.L.’s power,” said the Atom. “He internalized a bit of it for us before we got here. He knew what we were going to face!” He frowned as he surveyed the scene. If G.L.’s ring scans fail to shield us from her power, Ted and I might be forced to switch sides! he mused. Too bad Diana, Kara, or even Shiera isn’t around!

The quick-witted physicist nodded slowly and then yelled toward the robotic being that looked so eerily like the original robotic form of the second Red Tornado, “Cyclone? That is your name, right? Draw all the oxygen toward you!”

Red obeyed as best she could. Her ability to use the robot by remote was limited, but she was game for anything, and she began to accomplish what the Atom had suggested. The crowd began to fall aside as they gasped for air. It was working better than merely battering the mob could ever have done.

Green Lantern nodded in approval as he tried to contain Star Sapphire in a bell-shaped construct. “This may limit her powers, too. If she can’t see or hear…” he began as he rang the bell-like prison.

Then pink energy broke through his creation as the alien queen returned to view. “Paltry. Your efforts are weak!” she cried.

“How come Wildcat and the Atom aren’t under her spell?” asked Bellatrix.

“G.L. used his magic ring to give us immunity,” said Wildcat. “Kinda like a superhuman booster shot! You didn’t think this green shine was sunscreen, did you?” His brash words belied his true thoughts. Alan said he didn’t think his ring could block her power for long, he thought. We have to wrap this up fast!

Suddenly, the sky parted for a moment as a group of flying figures stepped out of strange opening in space. Artemis, Hazard, Alchemy, Corona, and Oleander dropped to the ground as the space warp closed behind them to reveal one glowing woman.

“Star Sapphire? Another one?” sputtered Bombshell.

“She’s on our side!” yelled Artemis.

“Which side would that be, chickie?” said Wildcat.

“She is a good Star Sapphire from what you’d call Earth-Three’s universe!” said Hazard. “We managed to summon her.”

Green Lantern flew toward Corona and said, “Corona, what is all this? Why are you with these criminals?”

“Long story!” said Corona. “Just trust them for now.”

Star Sapphire scowled as a woman who looked much like her approached, emitting her own pinkish glow. “Sister, what brings you here?” she said. “There is only room for one matriarch! And yet you are not truly one of my kind! You are more like the other Sapphire I briefly used as a host body!” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: Times Past, 1978: The Redundant Rogues.]

The black-haired woman in a brief pink costume shook her head. “I am Carol Block of the world some of the heroes of this place designated as Earth-Three! My alien gemstone came from a noble race of warrior women who sought to enlist me as their earthly champion! I was brought here by one called the Starheart!”

Green Lantern frowned and said, “Starheart? It can’t be!”

“Remember, on Earth-Three, bad is good and vice versa!” said the Atom.

Wildcat nodded and said, “Looks like the leggy babe in pink might just be able to handle our fishnet-wearing enemy!”

The two Star Sapphires grappled as pink energy exploded around them. “Your gemstone is close to the energy signature of my own, but my power is far greater! I’ll drain you dry!” hissed the seventh-dimensional queen.

The good Sapphire gritted her teeth and ignited her own energy nimbus until she could not see anything but a blinding glow.

Green Lantern’s led Corona forward. “Come on! We have to help her!”

Corona obeyed and followed his lead, even as she wondered what would become of her reformed double back on Earth-Three. Will we ever be able to return there? she wondered.

Suddenly, Corona shuddered as if in one final communion with the Starheart from Qward’s space. “No! Don’t fight her!” she yelled. “Carol, trust me! Let her have your power! It is the only way!”

Carol Block nodded and stopped fighting. The warring energies subsided as all the pink energy cascaded into her opponent.

The Star Sapphire of the Seventh Dimension gloated in victory until her expression changed, and she cried out in shock. “It hurts!” she shrieked. “By the cosmos, what is it? You’re killing me!”

“The energy from Qward’s Star Sapphire is anti-energy,” said Corona. “She’s being poisoned with every bit of power she steals!”

Green Lantern swooped up as the women fell from the sky. He reached for the dazed Carol Block, only to pass right through her as she vanished. “What happened to her?” he cried.

Strangely enough, his ring spoke in reply. “She is back on her world,” it said. “The mixture of cosmic energies and probability-altering power that enabled one such trip has faded. There will be no other journeys between realms by such means again!”

Corona drew closer and held out a purple gemstone. “This is all that is left of the evil Star Sapphire! I think her body entered the gemstone!”

“She couldn’t stand the energies from that antimatter universe,” said Green Lantern. “She retreated into the gemstone as she did once before. I’d say Doctor Fate can make sure she doesn’t exit again for many a year!”

As the former pawns of the alien queen revived, Oleander and Sumac slipped away as the sister helped her brother depart. “Lean on me, Sumac. You’ll be fine!” she whispered. As they passed by Artemis, she said, “We’re even. Don’t ask us for help again unless you can pay!”

Artemis started to raise her crossbow but lowered it silently. She made her way toward Bellatrix. “If you ever try to pose as me again, I’ll leave you to a slow death!” she threatened.

“My little ploy forced you to join the right side,” said Bellatrix. “That’s all that matters!” She extended one hand toward the others. “What about you all? Join the Council?” she asked.

“I’d like that,” said Hazard.

“No thanks!” said Alchemy. “I want to be a normal student again, and maybe get married someday. I hope the Monster will be happy on Earth-Three with the other Alexandra!”

Artemis nodded and said, “Me, too. My bigger concern is Kima. She saved my life back on Qward. Why didn’t she join us when we were brought here?”

Corona landed nearby and said, “Starheart said Kima’s destiny was to found on yet another Earth! I’d say she ended up there in some way.”

Bombshell grinned and said, “Well, Monocle and Black Arrow will be happy in jail once they wake up! Since our agents picked up Dart earlier, she can wait on her hubby in her own cell.”

“You did good back there,” said the Atom. “We want to hear more about you, though — all of you!”

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