The Amity Games
The new Starman, David Knight, finds little fun when a sporting event is attacked by Sportsmaster and his youngest daughter, Decathlon!
The Amity Games, though a recent creation of the wealthiest man in the world, had drawn a huge crowd. The media of dozens of nations had assembled, along with record crowds, to watch the best and brightest from around the world compete in this special celebration. It was a clever idea to schedule such events in the years between the Olympic Games, yet many were cynical about the true spirit of the event.
“He wants to cash in!” said one spectator. “Selling cups and T-shirts, videotape rights, record ratings for his TV network…”
“Jack — if something is popular, you assume it can’t have any value,” scolded David Knight.
His scruffy younger sibling shrugged. “Hey, I came, didn’t I? Don’t start that whole all-American rah-rah stuff!”
David sighed. His eccentric brother felt that only the most obscure things, that which were not embraced by the masses, could be cool. He was determined to keep up a façade of indifference, and David was more than willing to allow his sibling to maintain this pose. He figured any comment on his part would just increase Jack’s desire to be contrary. Then again, he never really felt connected to his brother except for their bloodline tie. They simply shared nothing in common beyond being the sons of the famous Starman of the Justice Society of America. “It’s fine with me if you just want to mock the whole thing,” he said with a sigh.
Jack grinned. “OK, don’t make a federal case out of it. I’m just expecting Reagan to show up and make some ‘win one for the Gipper’ speech.”
David rolled his eyes. “You and your old films. Sheesh! Can’t you like anything newer than 1950?”
“Actually, 1940,” said Jack, rolling his eyes. “The Gipper line comes from 1940.” He sometimes did that kind of correction just to annoy his seemingly perfect older brother. There was no malice in it beyond a simple bit of sibling rivalry that might change as both matured.
David was a handsome young man with short hair and the looks of a film idol. He had grown up as the son of a scientist, and he shared Ted Knight’s passion for science. However, his mother Doris Lee had been a debutante and equestrian, and he had been a star athlete through his teen years. He relished seeing others compete, and he was unashamed to enjoy such old-fashioned and, yes, all-American events. Jack was a collector of the rare and the odd, and he posed as a rebel scornful of much of mainstream culture. He was as much like their mother as David was like their father.
They had never been close in terms of their hobbies or their interests, yet this family shared a loss. Their mother had died much too soon. Their father Ted Knight had been a mystery-man called Starman, who used a wonderful gravity rod to fly and fight crime on the streets of New York, Opal City, Washington, and around the globe with the famous JSA. He had married Doris Lee in 1945 and retired his costumed role as he had promised her he would do. She had worn her own Starwoman costume on a couple of occasions, but she had wanted him to spend time with her and their future family, so he reluctantly hung up his costume. Still, his keen mind had connected him with solving several mysteries out of costume, and he remained friends with the colorful members of the JSA. When Doris had died, he had shared his grief with his young sons, and slowly, as a way to heal, he had rejoined his comrades in their crusade against evil. Starman had come out of retirement to help the team against foes as diverse as T.O. Morrow and the Hand.
David and Jack had reacted differently to their father’s other career. David had sought to emulate him and excelled in school and sports. Jack had collected his clippings and maintained a distant and slightly cynical mood. Still, now that David was carrying on for their absent father as the second Starman, he felt the need to try to reach out to Jack. Maybe he’d regret that.
Before they could continue their talk, the Amity Games began. As Ted Grant approached to light the Amity Torch, the crowd cheered.
“I hope this torch will serve as a reminder that the spirit of competition should always be nurtured and encouraged in our youth, so they may also shine as brightly to the next generation!” said the ex-world champ, who was secretly also the JSAer called Wildcat.
“Ted did OK; I figured he would. You know, he’s a lot smarter than his tough guy persona indicates. He was in med school when–” began David.
His words turned to a cry of dismay as the burning torch exploded. Grant rolled to safety as flames licked at his suit.
“He’s OK! But what caused that explosion?” yelled Jack as he craned his neck for a better look.
“Not what — who!” said a grim David. He added, “Stay put.” He raced off through the startled crowd and soon emerged as Starman.
Ted Grant had jumped to his feet, only to be slammed back to the ground by a projectile that caught him in the back of the head.
Harris Welmount, the founder of the games, screamed as a costumed man led a gang of gunmen onto the stage. “Who are you? Why have you men invaded this arena?” he said.
The costumed man aimed a baseball bat at the lights above, and they shattered from gunfire. “I’m the Sportsmaster, and this little event won’t take place unless I receive one billion dollars. If I don’t get the cash, then all the best and brightest athletes at this party will be penalized most fatally,” he said. “Think of it as a deadly time out!” he laughed. His goons lined the arena and held the security team at bay.
Ted Grant lay at Welmount’s feet, and Jack Knight watched in horror as his brother flew down to challenge the masked villain.
“Back away from the champ,” said the new Starman. “You’d be the one laying there if you hadn’t struck him from behind!”
Sportsmaster blinked as the light from the cosmic rod blurred David’s features from view.
Jack nodded to himself in the stands. Dave’s using Dad’s old trick to conceal his face from the press. I hope he can handle that creep. Sportsmaster was in the Injustice Society, for heaven’s sake!
Starman gestured with his cosmic rod, and a gleaming bubble soon covered Ted Grant and Harris Welmount. He lifted them to a point away from the Sportsmaster.
Crusher Crock grinned behind his mask. “Starman, I wish you’d brought fishnets with you. Be a real reunion if I had my old lady with me!”
Starman frowned. He thinks I’m Dad. Guess I’ll play along. “The Black Canary?” he said. “I don’t need her to strike you out, Crock!”
“Baseball puns?” laughed the Sportsmaster. “Nice! How about this one? Right over your partial plate!” He hurled a baseball toward Starman, who blocked it with a glowing shield. It exploded shrapnel over the field. “Ha-ha-ha! Big mystery-man just forgot to protect the innocents!” sneered the Sportsmaster.
Starman gasped. “No! By merely blocking that weapon, I hurt the folks nearby! Should have covered it with a shield and not myself!” He grimly swooped toward the line of thugs. Can’t hit anything with melted guns, he thought as he generated terrific heat and turned the baseball-bat rifles to pulp.
“Score one for Starman,” said the Sportsmaster. “Too bad the home team has the advantage. Put down your rod, or I’ll have to call foul on the crowd.”
Starman hesitated. If I surrender, he’s still be able to hurt them. I’d better try to out-think him. “OK, here. Take it!” he said. Jack groaned as David tossed down the cosmic rod.
The Sportsmaster whipped out a scoop and caught it up in his hand. “You are really out of form, Starman. Now that I have your magic wand, I’ll tear ya to pieces!” he taunted.
Then David’s keen mind and strong will reached out, as he had planned all along. The cosmic rod flashed and closed Sportsmaster in a glowing cocoon. “I can control it from a distance!” said David as he mentally closed the energy field around the shocked villain. He retrieved the rod and turned toward the weaponless goons. Now for them, he mused.
But a blow to the head suddenly left him staggering. He saw a leggy blonde standing over him. “Call me Decathlon! I’m Sportsmaster’s daughter!” she laughed.
David gasped and struggled to his feet. “Decathlon! I thought his kid was Artemis,” he muttered.
“Oh, don’t even go there! That primadonna thinks she’s so hot. Well, I can take her in a fair fight!” snapped the blonde in the modified sports costume. She wore a cheerleader’s outfit with a weapon’s band across her sweater and boots in place of tennis shoes.
“Daddy’s little pitch-hitter! Gotta get over that sibling rivalry,” admonished Sportsmaster.
Starman shook his head. He’s free. Got to take them both down fast before anyone else gets hurt, he thought. “I see the family resemblance — you’re both black and blue!” he quipped, then punched out at the Sportsmaster as he blasted a tendril of cosmic energy toward the woman. She darted away, even as her father cursed and gripped David’s arm.
“Man! Don’t try to out-fight him. He’s an expert!” moaned Jack from the stands. David didn’t hear his sibling, nor would he have appreciated the backseat crime-fighting.
He frowned and flipped Sportsmaster over his hip, only to receive an elbow to the face for his efforts. What would Dad do? he thought, then soared skyward and dragged the Sportsmaster with him. “You make me drop you, and you’ll be a strangely dressed pancake!” he threatened.
The Sportsmaster grunted and kicked loose. He flipped through the air and landed on his feet. “Can’t bluff an acrobat,” he sneered.
Decathlon smiled. “Let me kill him. I want to impress Mom.”
Sportsmaster nodded. “OK. Go for it, Kitten!”
Starman whirled about and used the rod to decrease all gravity around the taunting blonde. She soared upward and hung suspended in midair. “Now as for you, distract me, and your bratty daughter learns to fly!” warned Starman.
The Sportsmaster frowned. She’s a good acrobat, but caught in that infernal field of his, she can’t do anything! He held up his hands. “OK, Starman. This inning goes to you.”
Starman watched his hands. He didn’t trust Crock at all. He wondered if he could stand up to him if his bluff was called.
Suddenly, Decathlon yelled, “Daddy, get that rod out his hand. I’ll be cool!”
The Sportsmaster suddenly tossed his metal cleats toward Starman. David’s mind raced. Man, if those things go off like the ball, then people could be hurt. Gotta release the girl! He dropped her squarely on her father and strained to intercept the cleats. “Got them!” he sighed as he turned to face a high-kick from the already-recovered Decathlon.
“I’ll kick your teeth out!” she cried.
Starman dodged and wrestled her around, only to see her flip free. She punched him in the nose, and he grew angry. He generated a blinding flash of stellar fire, and as she staggered backward, he connected with a right hook. He turned to blast out at the raging form of her father. “Got him!” he said.
He saw Ted Grant give him a thumb’s-up sign. Harris Welmount also cheered. The richest man in the world is now my fan. Pretty cool! mused David.
Then the stunned Sportsmaster gasped and tossed a hidden projectile toward Starman’s back. A bolt of electricity shattered it. He kicked Sportsmaster flat and disarmed him of his weapon band. Somebody in the crowd saved me. Wonder if any other JSAers are here, he thought.
“Nice moves, kid. Your old man would be proud!” whispered Ted Grant. David smiled; high praise, indeed.
In the stands, a pretty blonde woman turned to an older man. “I did as you requested. He’s fine. Are you satisfied?” she hissed.
The bald man said, “My dear, we must keep young Knight alive until we choose to kill him.” She nodded reluctantly.
Later, David sat across from Jack. “So, how’d I do? Not bad for the new Starman on the block, huh?” he said.
Jack looked up warily. “You held your own with a psycho pom-pom girl. Degaton’s shakin’ in his jackboots,” he said sarcastically. He turned and walked off, whistling some obscure 1940s tune as David glared at his back in irritation.