Wonder Woman charged forward and said, “Tibro, I love that man more than life itself. You have no idea what I am prepared to do to get him back!”
Tibro grinned. “Bargain with your soul, eh? No. I’d rather see you suffer!”
“I meant I would hurt you, not that I’d surrender to you!” said Diana haughtily. “You have made me suffer. Now I’ll return the favor!” She turned and smashed through the machines lining his walls. Chronal energy erupted around them.
Tibro frowned. “Stop! We could both be lost forever in time if you break the wrong device!”
Wonder Woman smiled. “I have nothing to lose!” She ripped an entire bank of metal machinery out of the wall with amazing force.
Tibro dodged a wave of energy that sparked out of the damaged machine. “If you break that device, I’ll be nothing!” he cried. “My mastery of time is all I have!”
“You’d be ordinary! That is a terrible fate for one of your ego!” she said, kicking a hole in the wall.
Tibro hesitated. “No! I could send you to him! Or I could bring him back! Just stop!”
She smiled and posed confidently. “Bring him back now!”
Tibro frowned. “He was never truly gone. I decoyed you. Your Steve is behind this capsule.”
She watched as a gleaming sphere opened, and the Steve Trevor she loved fell forward. She frowned as she realized that this Steve, though identical to the one she had kissed, was somehow definitely hers.
“By Hera! If this Steve is mine, then who did you first displace?” she asked.
Tibro grinned. “You see, I didn’t get your Steve Trevor at first. I forgot how you mortals age. When I took the appearance of the Trevor I remembered from our first encounter, I neglected to take into account that there was no Trevor of that age and appearance around in this year of 1986!”
Diana frowned. “Of course! You said before, when I defeated you, that decades and centuries were all the same to you!”
Tibro nodded. “Imagine my surprise when I took on young Steve’s look and received not the man you married, who no longer fit that appearance, but instead drew to me through time, space, and dimensions the Crisis-tossed Steve Trevor of Earth-One, who was seeking his own mate!”
Steve Trevor frowned. “Who is this nut? Where am I? And who are you? You’re beautiful!”
Tibro waved one hand. Instantly, Diana found herself dressed again as Wonder Woman and pregnant once more. Meanwhile, the Steve Trevor of this world had returned to his current physique — that of the tall, muscular Odysseus — and was back on a mission with the Suicide Squad, without ever knowing he had vanished between seconds. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: Steve Trevor joined the Suicide Squad in The Suicide Squad: The Price of Redemption.]
“I tire of this game,” muttered Tibro wearily. “You have your life back. You were and are Wonder Woman, and Miss America never joined the JSA. Steve Trevor is back with his little Suicide Squad, and your mother never left Paradise Island. You won!”
“Wait,” said Wonder Woman. “You said that your mimic power brought the Steve of Earth-One to you at first, and you imprisoned him here before researching enough to go back to mid-1941 and then snatch the young Steve of Earth-Two, right?”
Tibro nodded and rolled his eyes as he explained, almost by rote, “Yes, the Steve Trevor of Earth-One had set out following the Crisis on Infinite Earths to find a way to restore his Diana. He sailed off in her invisible jet, but instead of reaching her island, he was brought through time and space to me! That was in mid-1985, right before the red skies of the Crisis faded for good, and travel between worlds became impossible. (*) I kept him suspended in time here for what to us was a few minutes, but to you all was months!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Wonder Woman: Paradise Lost, Prologue: Odyssey.]
“Then, when you were ready, you went back to 1941 and prevented my Steve from ever getting to the island, which was why he didn’t recognize me just now,” concluded Diana. “Thus you wiped out my history. But what have you done to the Steve of Earth-One? I won’t let him suffer!”
“I can’t tell you!” said Tibro. “Your rage shattered my scanners. I could not bring him back or tell you where he ended up if I tried. I guess you have a job to do, Wonder Woman!” he said mockingly.
As she frowned, she suddenly found herself back in the Georgetown manor she shared with her husband. Her baby was safely within her womb, and all was well again, but she now had to save the Steve Trevor of Earth-One.
Still, she was Wonder Woman, and she would not fail.
Diana Trevor took little time to confirm that all had been restored in her proper history. A quick call or two via the mental radio convinced her that all was well. Now that she had been restored to her proper timeline, she was pleased to note that even the evil Hatra was not in power in Pogolana, but her demure and sweet cousin Queen Selina was back on the throne.
Praise Hera! she mused. By fixing time anew, I also saved the true heir to the island nation from her cousin, as happened originally before Tibro altered my life.
Still, as the beautiful woman sat within her comfortable Georgetown manor and enjoyed the sensation of being once more eight months pregnant, she thought naturally enough of her missing husband and the team led by Commander Steel that had monopolized his time throughout most of her pregnancy.
“Poor Steve,” she said. “I hate to think of him being in danger without me by his side,” she said. “I feel so helpless when I can’t take direct action! Perhaps I can at least honor my Earth-One counterpart’s memory by tracking down the Steve that she loved so well. He could be anywhere, thanks to that warped Tibro.”
Still wearing the looser thigh-split skirt and sandals over the eagle breastplate, she looked as fit as could be imagined for a pregnant woman. Still, as strong and fast as her body was, her mind was equally keen.
Pulling out her omniwave projector, she tried to home in on Steve Trevor of Earth-One. She knew Paula Von Gunther’s invention was not exactly meant to locate the specific missing as much as it was to locate anyone in need. Still, she knew any Steve Trevor so intimately that she correctly hoped he would be within the range of the device.
She smiled as it hummed and revealed a location for first her Steve and then the errant one from Earth-One. He is still in this year! she realized. Tibro didn’t displace him far. Poor man must be confused trying to cope with an alternate world. But before I can rescue him, I’d better make a few plans. It’s too vital for me to risk failure.
“For this case, I may not be the Wonder Woman for the job,” she mused as she considered her altered body and understandably slower pregnant form.
Shiera Hall was beautiful, bright, and bored. She didn’t mind spending a day sorting through some of her husband’s vast collection of ancient relics, but a girl could only move so many crossbows before getting terminally bored.
She smiled as she handled an ornate choker. “I wore this back when we first met… for the first time, back in ancient Egypt! I bet Carter bought it or found it and never even made the connection. He can’t remember what I’m wearing within one day, much less several eons ago!” She laughed.
A noise echoed through the massive Hall estate, which was still being rebuilt after it was partially destroyed several months ago, and the pretty auburn-haired woman turned warily. (*) She lifted the wooden staff that hung nearby and padded softly across the marble floor in her pink fuzzy slippers and a light pink teddy.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Infinity Inc: Ancient Prophecies and Malcontents.]
“Who is there?” she called. Shiera knew the staff had retired for the night, and her husband Carter was busy, too. But she was a heroine in her own right as Hawkgirl, and she was even now the leader of her own little team, the JSA Reserves. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: Crawling from the Wreckage, Book 4, Chapter 3: Ragnarok Now.]
She opened a door but saw nothing. “Well, this heiress is getting jumpy in her late thirties!” she joked, since of course she was actually in her sixties, although she hardly looked even fifty.
Shiera started to put the staff back on the wall when a large man jumped for her. She slammed a fist in his face and hurled him neatly over one hip to the floor. A knee to his stomach brought no reaction.
“Look, pal!” she snapped. “You’ve picked the wrong girl to get rough with!”
He shoved her backward, and his features came into the moonlight as it streamed into the room. She gasped at the sight, and that hesitation cost her the fight as a second figure smashed a vase over her head from behind.
“Steve!” she groaned as she passed out.
The handsome blond man shook his head in sorrow. His allies gathered around him silently as jackals from desert sands of old. “Well done, Trevor,” said a tall, regal figure. “You serve your master well.”
The figure ordered the others to search the room, and as they did so, he watched with the idle expression of one who has lived long and seen it all. He looked at an impressive reproduction that filled one entire wall of the study. It depicted a scene of people paying homage in Egypt to a mighty and royal figure.
“Those insipid carrion dogs,” he muttered. “They never did get my profile right!”
Etta Candy Darnell, a slim and elegant matron, studied her friend’s reflection in the mirror as Diana Trevor worked her mental radio in the Trevor home.
“Woo-woo!” the Texan-born woman said. “You mean to tell me that you think someone else could possibly make a better Wonder Woman than you? That’s baloney!”
Diana grinned. “I didn’t say that, exactly.”
Etta cut her off. “Oh, you mean little Lyta! Why, Holly says Lyta has always wanted to wear the costume!”
Diana frowned. “No. I don’t feel Hippolyta is ready for the mantle. Plus, she’s in the same condition as I am,” she said, placing one hand on her swollen belly.
“Mala, then?” replied Etta. “She’s been to Man’s World before! She was the runner-up in your all-girl Olympics back when! She could be Wonder Woman, but she’s so sweet! I can’t see her cracking heads!”
“Not Mala, either, although the idea is interesting,” said Diana. “My mother wore the suit in a recent event I can’t exactly explain. Still, Aphrodite would not want the queen of the Amazons to leave the island.”
Etta frowned. “Di, Di, Di! Who is left to be Wonder Woman while you’re waiting for your due date?”
Diana smiled enigmatically as she replied, “Would you believe, me?”
Johnny Face wanted to score an easy job and lay low. He’d just be in and out, before anybody got hurt or the cops showed, and he’d be back home in D.C. It was so perfect a plan.
It didn’t work that way in reality. He did enter and exit with the 7-11’s cash without a problem until he ran right into her. He fell flat and gazed up at high-heeled red boots, killer legs ending in star-spangled hot pants, and a golden eagle breastplate. Her face was flawless, her figure curvy and dynamic, and her smile radiant, if mocking in a gentle way.
Her hands were poised on her hips, and she said, “Free money? That’s not why they call these places convenience stores!” she joked.
“Wonder Woman!” he sputtered. He turned to run, and she caught his coat and lifted him high off the ground. But his best effects could not break her grip.
“I can hold you up here all night,” she said, laughing. “It does say twenty-four hour service!”
As a cop picked him up, she turned to race off. The cop looked at her admiringly. “What a babe!” he said. “But I thought the tabloids said she was expecting!”
His partner nodded. “With a body like that? Not likely!”
Back in Georgetown, Diana Trevor smiled at Etta and at an exact double of her own wonderful form.
“Sheena, here, is perfect!” she said. “Paula designed this artificial Wonder Woman, who we nicknamed Machina, back in 1950 when I once vowed to fight myself. Back then Paula was able to control her body via mental radio and use her as a remote-control Wonder Woman for the battle, and now I can do the same!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Wonder Woman Vs. Wonder Woman,” Wonder Woman #41 (May-June, 1950).]
Etta laughed, “So using the radio allows you to literally be in the robot body?”
Diana nodded. “Something like that! But she’s not quite a mere robot any longer. Paula’s scientific mind is as amazing as ever. Sheena is now more of a… synthetic woman. She lets me do everything I normally do that my advanced pregnancy prevents me from doing ’til after the birth.”
“So you plan to use her to save or find the Earth-One Steve?” asked Etta.
“That’s my plan,” she answered. “May Hera be with us!”
Wonder Woman’s pleasure was ended quickly by a phone call from Hawkgirl. A rapid exchange with the dazed beauty revealed the recent actions of the Steve Trevor from Earth-One.
“Diana, I thought my attacker was your husband, except I realized later that if he had hit me or been the Steve I saw, that he would have been bigger and super-strong now!” said Shiera Hall, who held a cold rag to her head and soaked in a luxurious bubble bath in her home.
Diana agreed, and after hearing that the items stolen from the Hall home all came from the legendary dynasty of Pharaoh Aknaten, she knew the worst. “You rest and recover,” she said. “I’ll free Steve from the grip of the madman who must be behind the act.”
Shiera frowned amidst a sea of bubbles. “Who do you suspect? Any of a number of costumed kooks could want relics.”
“Not all from that particular era,” replied Diana. “In fact, in truth it may not even literally be a theft, since the items actually belonged to the man I suspect!”
Shiera moaned as she touched her bruised scalp. “Oww! Who do you mean?” she asked.
Wonder Woman replied, “I fought the real Aknaken more than once, even after he managed to turn back into the mummy he had been after our initial encounter! (*) He survived all these years, and he wants nothing more than to destroy all life on Earth, so he can rebuild his Egyptian realm from a fresh start! He must have taken Steve under his spell by some means. He is a master of lost sciences.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Vanishing Mummy,” Wonder Woman #23 (May-June, 1947).]
Shiera frowned, and as the phone clicked, the auburn-haired heiress sank into her bath and mused upon just how many ancient Egyptians had survived into the modern era. Maybe it’s time to hold a convention, she thought with some good humor.